5 Company Culture ‘Slip Ups’ That Will Cost You Dearly

Avoid These 5 Company Culture Mistakes

Corporate culture is the foundation of any successful business. A joint study performed by professors from Columbia Business School and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 2015 surveyed more than 1,500 North American CEOs and CFOs who run high-level businesses.

In the study, a survey was distributed asking the respondents a variety of questions about their views on the importance of corporate culture in their businesses, as well as their thoughts on where their current corporate culture stands.

The results (original source):

  • 90 percent of executives said culture is important at their firms;
  • 78 percent said culture is among the top 5 things that make their company valuable;
  • 92 percent said they believe improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of the company;
  • Only a mere 15 percent said their own corporate culture is exactly where it needed to be.

Obviously, corporate culture is something business leaders around the country feel is vitally important to how successful the business runs. It’s also something that’s easy to lose track of when phones are ringing all day and deals are getting signed by the hour.

However, let it slide and pretty soon you’ll be left with unhappy, unproductive, and potentially disloyal employees that will quickly lead you down the road to a crash-and-burn scenario for your business.

Avoid These Company Culture Mistakes

Here are 5 company culture mistakes that if avoided/repaired, will most definitely improve your company’s corporate culture:

1. Lack of Downtime (Both At and Away From the Office)

Even the most high-level leaders have dozens of mundane tasks that need to be completed every day. Still, you and your employees can’t possibly maintain productivity and a good attitude at work with your eyes staring at a monitor 12 hours a day.

Many businesses, particularly startups, are equally guilty of expecting their employees to burn the candle at both ends, working 24/7 in an effort to build and maintain a business. Everybody needs time off, away from work, in order to maintain adequate work/life balance.

Encourage frequent breaks during work hours, and don’t force employees to work more time than their salary allots for. A really good tip is to encourage employees to take exercise breaks, like Google and these other 4 major corporations do.

2. Lack of Humor Around the Office

Laughter is scientifically proven to reduce stress. Yet so many offices out there maintain a rigid, wooden culture that discourages humor in favor of keeping things on a professional level. Worse, many managers are still trained to discipline employees when they see them messing around during work hours.

The fact is, some of those employees may in fact need a talking to, if you constantly see them crowding the water cooler and telling jokes. Most are just letting their brains take a rest from their work, and getting a much needed endorphin rush to take back to their desk with them.

3. Lack of Fast, Stable Internet Connectivity

We all live and work in a connected world. There have been a few studies over the last couple of years that have identified poor Internet service as the most common complaint issued by otherwise happy employees.

The problem with poor Internet service is that it impedes a worker’s ability to get their work done quickly, and can have a huge impact on your customer service department when trying to service clients on web based apps and databases.

4. Lack of Stimulating Surroundings

Think color isn’t important in the office? Ask yourself this: why do people agonize so much over what colors to paint their walls, staircases, shelves, etc., in their homes? It’s because colors set the tone for a room, they help us cultivate emotions that either make us happy, sad, or flat uninspired.

If your current layout is drab and dated, consider modernizing that old office by painting and decorating with colors proven to boost creativity, happiness, and productivity.

5. Lack of Trust in Employees

This is one of the biggest corporate culture killers on the list. Not extending trust to employees, or constantly hovering over them when you do, will always lead to a lack of fulfillment and direction for them.

Extending trust can be done in a number of different ways, from constantly allowing employees new reach with regard to the level of work they do, to being honest and transparent about your successes and failures, and the ultimate direction you want to see the company going in.


The study on the importance of corporate culture outlined in the introduction showed a very strong majority of business leaders in North America’s biggest corporations understand the need to build and constantly improve the conditions their employees work in each and every day.

I’d like to end by asking two important questions:

  1. Are you ready to place a stronger emphasis on it in your business?
  2. Do you feel corporate culture belongs in the top 5 list of things that make your company valuable?

Wet Floor Photo via Shutterstock


Ivan Widjaya Ivan Widjaya is the Founder/CEO of online marketing agency Previso Media, small business online magazine Noobpreneur.com and several other business blogs/online magazines. He is a Web publisher, Web property investor, blogger and Web property builder.

3 Reactions
  1. I think that downtime is important. It will allow your employees to regenerate and center themselves.

  2. Yes. I would leave if there’s no stable Internet connectivity. It is a must if you want to work properly.

  3. Good Read!! My favorite points were lack of humor and lack of trust. Surely, corporate lack humor. Humor should be encouraged. A happy, healthy employee will work with more dedication and hence improve your outputs