5 Signs of Toxic Corporate Culture — and How to Fix Them

Having a healthy corporate culture is becoming more and more essential to running a successful business. While most companies like to think they have a perfect corporate culture, many times it only seems that way on the outside looking in. It doesn’t take much to turn a healthy environment into something toxic, and there are a few warning signs to watch for to make sure things don’t go sour. 

Low Employee Retention Rates

A low employee retention rate is a clear sign something is wrong. In some industries, high employee turnover is fairly common. These tend to be high-stress, high-volume environments in which employees are expected to sink or swim. However, most companies intend to foster a productive environment that also offers employees some satisfaction so they’ll have an incentive to stay. With a mandate such as this, having a higher turnover rate than the industry standard is a sure sign of trouble. Employees generally won’t remain long in a toxic environment unless the reward is perceived as worth the abuse. Being only a few years away from receiving a pension is one example. New employees certainly won’t stick around to suffer horrible bosses, insufferable coworkers, or corporate policies that don’t protect their well-being.

If you think retention might be an issue in your company, determine exactly why your employees are jumping ship so quickly. Check into terminations and resignations over the last few years and look for any patterns. Are employees who are leaving doing so because of a corporate policy they feel is too restrictive? If a large number of employees are being terminated from a location due to “insubordination” or some similar cause, it might say more about that department’s management than its workers.

Having a “Yes” Culture is a Big “No-No”

While we all like to think we know what is going on and what decisions to make when running our business, let’s face the fact that we’re not omniscient. We can’t see every situation from every perspective, and our own personal biases and experiences can blind us from time to time. The employees who speak out about policies that aren’t working and voice their concerns offer us one of the best ways to gauge the areas that need more attention. If your employees are too afraid of retaliation to disagree with you, or convinced their voices won’t be heard, then you’ll be blind to what’s really going on. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Encourage their feedback through incentives, and then listen to your employees. It’s also a good idea to start garnering customer feedback as well, if you haven’t already.

Cross-Department Initiatives Crumble

Another tell-tale sign of a toxic environment is that collaboration between departments tends to fall flat. This might be for a number of reasons. It could merely be a communication and organization issue. Perhaps the teams involved just have no clue how to operate outside their own departmental bubbles, so nothing gets accomplished. Another issue could be some underlying strife or feuding between the departments, especially in situations where the departments tend to butt heads in their day-to-day work.

For example, if store-level advertising and corporate graphics need to work together, they’re not going to get along if corporate drags its feet in approving time-sensitive materials or delays in releasing digital assets that need to be printed and in stores by a deadline. It would be even worse if corporate tried to pass the blame onto the store-level teams for the displays not being placed on time. In this situation, getting these two groups to play nicely together could be almost impossible without sorting out the resentment between them. Having planning meetings early on as well as open discussions with the teams individually can be an easy way to spot any potential issues with the project and disarm them before they can derail the entire collaboration.

Aversion to Risk

Risk-averse employees can create a corporate culture that is stymied, stagnant, and unable to make the creative decisions required to move the company forward. In many cases, this aversion is caused by a fear of repercussions due to policies that are too restrictive. If the corporate structure is hidebound, it won’t allow any leeway. 

Set up practices that inspire and reward a certain degree of risk-taking and flexibility to promote better productivity. For example, income might increase if employees are allowed some latitude in making their sales pitch rather than quoting verbatim from a script that probably sounds emotionless to them and the customers as well. Letting employees add a little personal touch to their jobs not only helps them discover new solutions to problems but also makes your business feel more human to your customer base.

Silos and Isolation

In a business that has multiple departments with autonomous responsibilities, it’s common for employees to form cliques and feel as if the only others they really need to care about or interact with are the coworkers in their own little silo. This can cause problems when it comes to cross-department collaborations or when there are tasks that rely on multiple departments in order to be processed properly. The first step in breaking up this isolation mentality is to get the departments more involved with one another. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in a way that has them physically working together. It can be achieved through corporate events and team-building retreats.

Scheduling corporate events in Iowa can help your employees bond, especially if the events are more social in nature rather than listening to business strategies or training. It’s even better if you’re able to do something that could qualify as a team-building exercise and stress relief for your workers all bundled into one. If your team members really have trouble working with one another or just don’t know how to solve problems together, scheduling a corporate outing at an escape room could be an innovative way to kill two birds with one stone. It would force people who aren’t normally accustomed to working together to bounce ideas off one another and collaborate in solving problems.

Fixing a toxic corporate culture involves identifying the problem areas and then formulating strategies to correct them. Keeping an open mind is vital because, like it or not, you may eventually discover you are part of the problem. Be willing to listen to feedback, and show flexibility within reason. Before you know it, you’ll have devised basic ways to change things for the better and keep them that way.

corporate events

5 Ideas for Planning Engaging Iowa Corporate Events

Have things around the office gotten mundane? Are you trying to figure out something to liven things up and let your employees have fun? A great way to do this is by throwing a corporate event. Many companies will throw the same event every year, and it starts to become repetitive and dull. Instead of going the same route, figuring out a theme can really make things more alive and give your employees the time of their lives. If you’re trying to get ideas for Iowa corporate events, then keep reading to get five different themes with tips on how to throw a spectacular party.

Hollywood Movie Night

The first theme you could do for an awesome corporate event is a Hollywood movie night. With this theme, there are a few ways you could set things up. The first way is by having a general Hollywood theme. You could rent out a space and have a red carpet leading inside. Add some people with cameras, and your employees will feel like real celebrities. Inside, have some bubbly ready and serve amazing food. You could even host some kind of fun little award ceremony that takes after big Hollywood events like the Academy Awards.

On the other hand, you could decide to set up the building in different areas and decades. For every decade, you could do a different type of theme according to what was big during that time. For example, the 50s would have movies like “Grease” and offer foods such as hamburgers, while the 70s would have gangster movies and be all about pizza. You don’t have to use these decades, and you could just do movies and foods associated with them.

Fandom Night

Since so many people have their own fandoms and interests, you could also do a fandom night. The best way to figure out which fandoms to do is by simply doing some kind of poll with your employees. Some popular choices might be “Supernatural,” “Harry Potter,” “Dr. Who” and “Sherlock Holmes.” These might not be a huge interest in your workplace, so make sure you know what everyone loves. Plan to incorporate a few different fandoms into your party so that everyone can enjoy the festivities and have a great time.

In terms of food, drink and decorations, you’ll want to match each fandom. For example, you could have floating candles, Butterbeer, and chocolate frogs for a Harry Potter-themed table, but the Sherlock table would have something like investigator hats and pipes, and tea and scones. The good thing is that you can find a lot of ideas online to get you started. You don’t have to have activities, but if you do, make sure they are geared toward adults and go with the theme.

Around the World Night

Most workplaces have quite a bit of diversity, so try doing an around the world night. This particular theme has fantastic potential. There are two ways you could do this. The first one is going national. Doing it this way means you can include places like China, India, Ireland and Germany. If you wanted to do it on a smaller scale, you could do it with cities, like Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas and Baton Rouge. Regardless of which way you go, try and do a poll to see where everyone’s home state or country is, then use that to plan your party.

In terms of decorations, this theme is extremely easy. You can use the flags and colors from each place to decorate things. You could also use other items that are important or well-known to each area. Once you have your decorations, you want to make sure you include food and drink from each area. For example, you could do curry goat from India or deep dish pizza from Chicago. For activities, you could do trivia about each place, then give a prize to the person or team that gets the most answers right.

Casino Game Rentals

Who doesn’t love playing at a casino? Let your employees have fun and get some casino game rentals. By doing this, you can bring a little slice of Vegas right to you. You can decorate the entire space to make your employees really feel like they are in Sin City. You can include things like backdrops, bar areas, cut-outs of famous people who frequented Vegas, like Frank Sinatra, and replicas of various statues that can be found in the different casinos on the strip. Food and drink can be pretty much anything you want, but a popular option to go with this theme is a buffet. If you’ve been or heard about Vegas, then you know that buffets are everywhere.

In terms of games, there are many you can choose from. Some options are slot machines, poker tables, craps tables, roulette and keno. While most places will have rules and regulations on these actually paying out money, you can give tokens or tickets and let the employees pick out prizes at the end of the night. These can include gift cards, electronics and fun items.

Masquerade Ball

Finally, add a little mystery and host a masquerade ball. For this theme, you want to make sure you rent a venue that can be easily decorated and give a true feel of mystery and luxury. You can choose to have your guests arrive with their masks or give them the option to leave them off if they want. You’ll also want to make sure they know if it’s semi-formal or formal.

When thinking about decorations, food and drink, you have a lot of possibilities. To get ideas for decorations, try and research how masquerade events usually look and try and use that with your own ideas. Since it’s a formal event, you’ll want to have a nice sit-down dinner and fancy drinks. To finish the night, schedule in an hour or two of dancing.
These are only a few ideas for corporate events in the Iowa area, and you can pretty much come up with anything you can think of. The important thing is just to make sure you research everything and figure out how to make it an awesome party. There’s nothing worse than putting all kinds of work into an event and having it fall short. The best way to figure out the perfect theme for your party is by paying attention to what kinds of things your employees are interested in and figuring out what they’d appreciate. The possibilities are nearly endless, and you never know how great the idea will be if you don’t at least try it!