Corporate smoking culture: what not to do to keep your employees from scattering. Here are three real examples.

Corporate smoking culture: what not to do to keep your employees from scattering. Here are three real examples.

| Leadership

Prosperous companies that bring millions of dollars for their creators cannot often boast an excellent corporate culture.

Employees are overworked, constantly feel like they're in a race, and quickly burn out. It is not about the business of the future, which involves an environmentally friendly attitude to colleagues and subordinates, but about the enduring trend of working up a sweat. So what should you avoid doing if you don't want to lose your employees?

You don't have to be a strict conservative.

No, we're not in an American parliamentary election. This corporate culture is typical of law firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Employees are carefully selected, and each law firm's standard gets checked. The selection process lasts several decades, and staffing numbers are constantly reduced, leaving only the most effective in the organization. Efficiency gets achieved through 24/7 work and enormous personal time and space sacrifice. The selected lawyers become partners, stay with the company for many years, and can count on impressive perks and high salaries. As a result, they become an elite, perceived by society as separate from their work team. So they can no longer leave the company and will lose their weight in society, their salary, and their whole life.

There is no need to strive for eternal competition.

Exceptional individualism keeps the competitive spirit alive. That's what Amazon bosses thought when creating a corporate culture hinges on perpetual individual pursuit. Employees score points to gain the title of "special," write secret reviews on each other, discredit others' ideas and use the entire arsenal of not particularly fair competition tools. Those who win in such rat fights become holders of company stock options. Those who lose simply go to another organization. At the top levels, the competition continues - unlike law firms, Amazon does not stop browbeating its employees throughout their time with the company. So the turnover at the firm is enormous, and e-commerce industry professionals are going into their own business, but not to work for Jeff Bezos.

There is no need to achieve results by any means.

For example, they may even allow employees to break the law to achieve specific KPIs. That is what the so-called unrestricted corporate culture is known for, for example, Uber. Are you aggressive and flighty enough to meet the expectations of the organization? Then do your business as you see fit because there are no winners. True, only the company does; US courts have been hearing lawsuits against Uber for sexism, sexualized slurs, discrimination against women, and threats by managers to subordinates for years. However, unfortunately, senior management pays minimal attention to this - they have to exist in a highly competitive environment with dirty and dishonest ways to improve the situation of different employees. Because of the extreme masculinity and looseness, Uber employees were at one point compared to the characters in The Wolf of Wall Street, and investors forced founder Travis Kalanick to leave the organization altogether.

What other traits do corporate cultures have that are not worth repeating?


The company has no core values. Agreements are not fixed, rules are not spelled out, and business gets done through personal communication, which is predominantly verbal.

The manager does not follow company values. The company loses its 'moral compass,' reflected in the employer's brand, but makes money to maintain its operations. If it is a story that passes quickly, it is still acceptable. If it's long-term, employees will sooner or later wonder, "Why do we have it this way?"

The company's HR brand has a bad reputation. It's probably not being dealt with by anyone. Therefore, you are offered an above-market salary, thus compensating for a not-very-good corporate culture. An employer with a great corporate culture can afford to pay or even slightly lower within the market.

Employees are late for work, don't perform their duties well, and constantly gossip. Generally, they behave like children at school rather than adults responsible for results. Nevertheless, simultaneously, their words are at variance with their deeds: they say one thing, do another and do a third.

The manager doesn’t recognize the merits of their staff. Encouragement and recognition are out of the question; to hear them say "thank you" is like seeing snow in summer and storm in winter. The manager may have favorites who are allowed more than everyone else.

If you start building a corporate culture from the very beginning of your startup, you are unlikely to have severe problems with it in the future. Nevertheless, there is always time to overhaul that culture if you realize it's time to revamp some processes. We highly recommend you do this and fully support you in this endeavor. So, come to Lectera's healthy corporate culture course, and we will explain how to create a space for the growth and development of employees in the company while at the same time not forgetting about business results.

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