A Positive Culture?

So, I read a blog post yesterday that was trying to define what makes a positive company culture. Unfortunately, like most, it missed the mark in a laughable way.

Basically, a good culture was defined as having the following aspects: A boss that is involved in the business, room for advancement, a flexible work schedule and working for a socially responsible company. I guess if you have these things, you should be happy at work content that you work in a firm with a great culture. Um, no.

While these are all positive attributes for a company to have, they could have no bearing on whether the culture is any good. Culture encompasses everything. Everything from what clothes you can wear to work, how you need to groom, to whether dishes get left in the sink, or whether people naturally pitch in to clean if needed.

But there is one key element that has to be in place before any company can even begin to think that they have a healthy culture. It’s what we look for in every potential client. Can they build or maintain a People Positive Culture?

What it is is this: Does the owner/principal/CEO-type care at all about their employees? Really care? Do they value what they provide? Or is having employees just a means to an end? The end being possibly selling the company. The financial windfall for the founders? That’s the dynamic that needs to be explored and answered before you ask whether you work in a People Positive Culture.

Without this, no amount of ping pong games, potato chips, happy hours, dog days, or whatever other perks your company provides, will fill the void and create a PPC. The culture may be fine, and you may be happy with your job, and that’s great. But you may not truly work for a company with a great culture. Could just be a mirage.

So, how might you determine whether you work for a company with a great culture? What happens when things go poorly? Are employees to blame whether deservedly or not? Does management take responsibility? How are exiting employees treated? Are they “shown the door” or are they celebrated for the contributions they made? Are people “laid off” only to have someone else replace them in a month or two? Is a former employee ever hired back? Would they ever want to come back?

Answers to some of these questions will help paint a picture on how your company really views its employees. And whether a People Positive Culture does or can exist.

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