Coalesce Inc.’s Blog

marketing, design and office fun

How’s your culture these days?

Posted by coalescemarketing on March 30, 2012

Now that the dust has settled on the whole “Why I’m Leaving Goldman Sachs” debacle, we thought it would be a good time to explore the nuances of Greg Smith’s case against his former company’s toxic culture. If you haven’t had a chance to read Mr. Smith’s public letter of resignation from the notable financial firm, you can link to it here.

For some time now, we’ve been fascinated by the idea of culture as a driving force in businesses of all sizes. In fact, our upcoming  issue of Vitamin C will focus on creating a company culture where brands can thrive. If you aren’t already receiving it, sign up!

Why does culture matter? Well, as Mr. Smith proves, a positive culture is what keeps employees happy and content and proud to work for a company. A positive culture is one that he describes as being driven by “lead-by-example” employees, innovation and integrity. When these things disappear, it’s easy to see how a company’s culture can become “toxic.”

So maybe you’re not Goldman Sachs, and maybe you don’t have an employee who is going to blow the whistle on your company’s culture in a major national publication. But what if you did? What would your employees say about your business and their workplace? Is it open to new ideas or does it operate with an oppressive top-down mentality? How do you define good work? Do your employees buy in to that definition?

Here’s a series of yes/no questions to get you thinking about your company’s culture:

  1. Does your company encourage employees to voice their opinions?
  2. Are employees recognized for going above and beyond?
  3. Do senior managers at your company listen to other members of the team and lead by example?
  4. Do you make an active effort to live out your mission statement?
  5. Do your employees know and live your mission statement when dealing with co-workers and customers alike?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it may be time to consider the quality of your company’s culture and what you can do to improve it. It’ll pay off. As Dana Kohlbeck, one of our talented account managers noted in a recent Post Crescent Market Smart Column, “companies who spend time examining internally will see payback externally, as customers want to do business with companies who care.” Prove to your people that you care, and you’ll find that they’ll, in turn, prove the same thing to your customers.

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