7 Signs Corrosive Culture | ExactHire

7 Signs Your Company Culture is Corrosive

Should your organization be successful and productive when you consider your products, market outlook and available resources? If your company is not making the headway you’d expect, you could have a silent saboteur–corrosive culture. To see whether your company culture is thriving or diving, here are seven signs that may suggest danger ahead.

1 – Difficulty filling jobs relative to your competitors

Your local competitors are hiring talented employees, so why aren’t you? Toxic company culture may be to blame. Some websites allow potential employees to investigate culture within a company before stepping foot on their first day. Glassdoor, The Undercover Recruiter, and Yelp are just a few that allow job seekers to peer into topics such as a typical day for current employees, the reasoning behind termination, and management review protocol. These options can make it difficult to find a new hire if you have poor reviews. Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy fix for poor reviews’ influence on new or potential hires.

To improve morale and stimulate positive feedback, plan events that encourage a sense of comradery. Another way to woo potential new candidates is to enhance your company’s career page to allow easy, seamless applications.

2 – Frequent short-term turnover

A “there are no problems when things are growing” mindset can be a symptom of a struggling culture when a business is growing rapidly. A few issues could be at play if your company is frequently hiring new people to fill the same positions. Though new hires in new positions can be a positive sign, repetitive single position hires may be a sign of poor pay rates, a lack of excitement or passion for the business, or just a bad employment match for both employee and employer. Address the cause of poor job fit with a planned hiring strategy. The company must decide what it wants in a candidate and seek applicants who display such qualifications and traits.

Fast, uncontrolled growth can lead to “Band-Aid” fixes, as the company tries to solve problems by slapping on short-term solutions. But, by defaulting to the fast fix approach every time, you cut corners and severe issues may emerge later. As a result, short-term turnover could become frequent, causing both wasted resources and time for everyone involved. Also, hastily sourced hires might lose interest in the employer if adequate job expectations are not set or if the employee onboarding process is rocky.

3 – Lack of organizational and individual value alignment

While an employer must understand that individuals on the team each have unique values, it is paramount for organizations to convey and celebrate their own organizational values, too. Without clarity around the behaviors and ideals that drive business objectives, it’s difficult for employees to judge whether their own personal values complement those of the company.

Embed your company values into every aspect of operations so that you hire the right people who will be excited about what you have to offer, and who will strengthen the direction in which you wish to head as an organization. Your team should be a community, and communities are made of single residents, each with their own lives.

4 – An idea-sharing shortage

Are your teammates compelled to share new suggestions? If few people in the office are contributing, it may be a sign there isn’t engaged work going on throughout the day. Not only is a lack of new ideas an obstacle to a healthy organization, but it could signal a major mental absenteeism issue throughout the company. Sure they are coming into work, but are they checking out mentally?

Encourage employees to share and express ideas, whether they are a new hire or veteran within the company. If sharing ideas is viewed negatively within team meetings, candor will become suppressed. Value employee contributions by supporting suggestions to encourage the development of a solid idea pipeline.

5 – Lack of collaboration

If you’ve noticed a work setting full of information silos, then you may have a “me first” mentality on hand. Employees are motivated to hoard information for personal gain, rather than share knowledge to elevate everyone’s productivity. To combat this phenomenon, examine incentives that may motivate selfish behavior. Eliminate those incentives and then design processes to encourage employees to share knowledge, instead.

6 – Little to no participation in culture-related activities

Sometimes people are legitimately busy or unable to make every single potluck. But, if there’s a pattern of spotty attendance at occasions especially designated to be culture-building events, then you have a problem. Lack of interest may be due to poor senior management support, excessive work responsibilities or a disconnect between options and what is actually meaningful to employees. Examine the potential causes and then communicate a new plan of action to employees to stimulate future interest.

7 – Gossip and closed door talks

Discouraging gossip and talk behind closed doors seems like a no-brainer, but it may not be as easy to spot as you may think. If there are cliques or negative rumors around the office, it’s important to address them. Then, spend time contemplating why this type of behavior is occurring. Are some people in the wrong jobs? Are people creating their own reality due to a lack of communication from management?

Model desired behavior and communicate in as transparent a way as possible for your organization, based on its values. To end negative gossip and rumors, speak to the affected parties to mediate a solution.


Half the battle of improving work culture is identifying the behaviors and outcomes that flag a problem in the first place. Now that you know what to look out for, partner with senior management to make a plan for change.


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Image credit: Rust Corrosive Texture by L.C. Nøttaasen (contact)

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