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14 Ways to Create an Unsatisfactory Corporate Culture

November 10, 2017

Working in a corporate office is fantastic!

Competition, dress code, learning challenges, tight deadlines… Let’s face it! Not everyone is suitable to work in the corporate world. For some, it may seem quite demanding, while for others it is a great opportunity to build a great career and have stability.

Having a corporate job can be fun and quite a learning experience when there is a work-life balance. While higher management is the company’s face, its true force comes from below and those invisible people are the ones making it happen.

Between competitors, global businesses and corporate dimension going bigger and bigger, leadership tends to forget the basis of a good and healthy work environment.

So, how can corporate businesses fail their employees, not promoting a balanced environment where all people are happy, motivated and proud of working in such a place? Let’s unveil what can go wrong!

1. No Amenities

It’s a basic need, but not all companies consider it. Clean water, a nice place to have a meal, vending machines, a microwave and – let’s get a bit demanding – free fresh fruits, coffee, and snacks! Even if it is a small company with a dozen employees, this is a no go! Come on, we are 70% water, 15% caffeine and 15% brain weight, we need to feed our intelligence!

2. No Benefits

Let’s say that benefits such as health insurance, gym access, kindergarten, vouchers, annual bonuses, or even a cool football table for that 5-minute break make employees feel valued. Everyone loves a bargain!

3. No Social Responsibility or Volunteering Programs

Many people feel good about helping others. Businesses with EVPs (meaning Employee Volunteering Programs, not Electronic Voice Phenomenon… unless you work at a very cool place), add value to their reputation, engaging more business while increasing their employee’s loyalty and productivity.

4. Too Many Meetings

When you’re working in a multinational company, meeting calls can take tons of hours when you could be doing something useful. While it’s true that some are required and a lot can be achieved by having a chat, others are simply pointless… people napping, working aside or watching that cool YouTube video of babies laughing. Many questions can be quickly answered just by sending an email with bullet points, with the advantage that it can be saved and checked later.

5. No Clarity Over the Company Core Values and Mission

Companies constantly changing their strategy or reorganizing departments creates instability and insecurity. It gets worse when they fire half or a full department or higher management. People will start gossiping, sharing a feeling of “why should I bother to work on this… I’m next!”. The funny side? Considering people redundant to soon realize “Crap… Now we don’t have anyone in this critical part of the business! Any volunteers? Hmm, maybe we should hire someone for this.

6. No Training Opportunities

Training is important to keep people motivated and progress in their careers. If there’s little to no ambition, there’s no personal involvement with the business goals. People should be able to improve their skills, even if not directly connected with their roles, which leads us to the next no go.

7. No Role Changing Opportunities

When people are awesome at their job, they tend to be kept away from any career evolution, they’re that good! Allowing role rotation, even if temporarily, can uncover true hidden talents.

8. People aren’t Numbers

We are human beings with feelings, virtues, fears… not machines nor robots. Human relationships make the world go round so no one should be treated as just a number. If a corporate business need to reduce human task force, it should be done as humanely as possible, not by running an automated system that runs algorithms and picks up randomly whom should be sacked.

9. No Surveys

Listening to employees’ needs and thoughts can help a company achieving goals and retaining valuable personnel. Though some companies do it, and they say it is anonymous, most global companies ask for some details such as department and country so it gets fun and “sincere” when you’re the only one of your team in a branch office… totally anonymous, right?

10. No Time for Fun

Laughing and socializing doesn’t kill focus on delivering, quite the opposite. Happy people connect and spread great vibes for a nicer work environment. Why not allowing employees to participate in a group one-hour per week? It can be language exchange, a choir or band, cooking lessons, learning at the office, meditation or yoga… there’s a world of opportunities that are free where employees can share their passions and hobbies. Some companies even offer once a month free massage! How cool is that? Relaxing time and knowing when to take a break has a huge impact on effectiveness. What’s better than working team building for free?

11. Complex Hierarchies and Processes

Let’s say you work at a multinational and you need to clarify something. You look for a diagram that tells you whom to contact but it is already 5 years old. After asking around, you get a contact. You email that person and get a response: “That’s not me anymore, try X”. There you go asking again and no… still not the right person for that. After five email exchanges, Jackpot! You got the contact. You send your email and go for a break. When you come back you have an auto-reply like “Hey, I’m out of the office, returning in 3 weeks” or even better: “Hi, I no longer work at Z. Good luck finding the right contact…” Just another great day at the office!

12. No Working from Home Policy

There will always be that type of employee that sits on the couch watching his/her delayed shows. However, for most of us, it is a great way to stay in bed a bit more, work one day per week with a fashionable pajama or even enjoy a bit more quality time with our kids or pets without jeopardizing work. In fact, we end up working more because we don’t do as many breaks as in an office.

13. Centralizing and Outsourcing Basic Services

Many global businesses turn some core departments to other countries or outsource them to spare some money, but in the end, this isn’t a great approach. Local knowledge is irreplaceable, ends up increasing additional efforts to correct mistakes and along with it comes dissatisfaction.

14. No Pets in the Workplace (not wrong, but I love this one!)

If it is a big company and almost everyone has pets, yes… it would turn into a zoo. So why not get a pet from a shelter and have a mascot? For sure most employees would love to sponsor and contribute to expenses and taking it home for the weekend. Benefits? Let’s see… does saving a life, reducing stress, encouraging longer working hours and increasing sympathy and empathy along co-workers’ work for you? It sure makes sense to me!

So how is your corporate world? Are you happy? Though my company practiced most of the above, I was still not happy. I guess I’m not a corporate person so… I became a freelance writer and I’m having the time of my life!

Sofia is a Portuguese freelance writer living in sunny Barcelona. She’s passionate about writing, observing, singing and animals (specially her 2 dogs). You can reach out to her at Sof.T