10 Common Pain Points Of Building A Company Culture (And How To Address Them)

A company’s culture—or its shared values, behaviors, goals and beliefs—can be one of the most difficult aspects of business for an entrepreneur to build. It involves bringing together employees from different backgrounds, with different experiences and with differing goals, and determining commonalities and an unified vision that everyone can agree on and strive toward. Naturally, this process can involve a few bumps along the way.

But no matter how difficult the journey, building a strong company culture is key to building a successful business that lasts. To help, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss 10 pain points they often hear about in company cultures and offer their best advice for addressing them.

1. Maintaining Culture As The Company Grows

As we grow, one pain point is ensuring our culture is maintained. We are pushing the 100-employee marker and that means doubling the quantity of managers. The more management, the more opportunities to skew the culture we want to keep. We have hired a director of people whose sole responsibility is to train management so that, even with growth, we can still have the same feeling for our employees that we had when they were working directly with the CEO. – Marjorie Adams, Fourlane

2. ‘Office Politics’

The common pain point I often hear about in company cultures is “office politics.” The way you can address it is by hiring people who are the right fit for your company culture. Hiring like-minded people significantly decreases the chances of office politics occurring. These hires are generally busy pursuing the set goals and striving to realize the company vision. Hiring people who belong improves collaboration, which in turn enhances productivity. So, finding and onboarding the best cultural fit should be the priority. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Limited Trust From Leaders

One thing that can destroy your company’s culture is not trusting your team. People who do not feel like their employer or manager trusts them will never feel empowered and will never reach their full potential. This will limit the success of the business. Put in processes, communicate expectations, provide the correct tools and then let the team work. Trust them to get the job done. People will surprise you, and you are bound to be more successful. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

4. Lack Of Appreciation

One common pain point I often hear about in company cultures is when people are not appreciated for their hard work. It all depends on how you perceive value, but the appreciation can come in different forms. It can be in the form of monetary compensation or an appreciative “thank you.” When you don’t acknowledge their hard work, employees feel undervalued and unappreciated. When someone does not receive a raise or promotion, or when it takes a long time for a performance review, it has a negative impact on their performance. A person’s pride and self-esteem need to be taken care of, and appreciation is a great way to do that. It also increases motivation and makes them more dedicated to their work. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

5. Little Top-Down Communication

One common pain point I’ve dealt with in the past is a lack of communication and responsiveness from senior members of an organization. While we’re all busy, prioritizing open communication and transparency across an organization is key to improving company culture and promoting inclusivity. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender

6. Poor Accountability

When people are accountable, especially in a direct way with their managers and peers, it cultivates a sense of urgency around providing what other team members need from them and puts a high value on the quality of work they deliver. Employees at all levels should feel a sense of duty and pressure to deliver what is required of them with excellence and intentionality. This is especially important for mid-level managers as they tend to be the No. 1 downfall of company culture via how they lead, so making sure they are held accountable for their deliverables and how they navigate different processes is helpful for all team members both above and below them. Accountability leads to transparency, which allows for issues to be both identified and dealt with swiftly. – Nick DeAngelo, We Buy Loans Fast

7. Lack Of Transparency

One common pain point in company culture is a lack of transparency. This can be solved by implementing a companywide feedback system or holding “town hall” meetings every week or month to address the issue. Company leaders should also have a clear vision for the company and make sure they are transparent with their team members in order to maintain a healthy work environment. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

8. Few Opportunities For Growth

A pain point that sends employees out the door is when the ladder is missing rungs—there are a few high earners at the top, a long gap in the middle and entry-level salaries under that. Other employees might consider it a pain point that there is only a ladder instead of a full web of opportunity. What motivates your people? Flexible schedules? Results-based compensation like commissions? Don’t funnel everyone in two directions: up the ladder or out the door. Be inventive with what you can offer. It gives you more game pieces to play with, and that means more ways for you to win. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

9. Isolation

With many companies now working remotely, and employees finding more balance between life and work, a common challenge is isolation and the lack of physical contact with colleagues. Working from home has tremendous benefits, but it can lead to barriers when it comes to developing relationships with team members and not feeling isolated. As a result, silos can easily form across work teams and socially. We recently started hosting Zoom breakout rooms where employees can spend time talking and meeting new team members. We continue to try to encourage team members to work together and interact in as many ways as possible. We’ve also started implementing team training, where team members teach others about their core competence. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

10. Resistance To Change

When an organization has unspoken rules or norms, employees usually adapt to a fixed way of working and communicating. Employees may feel that a specific form of doing things is “just how it is,” even though workplace trends are changing outside of the immediate workplace. This can block the sharing of critical information or the free flow of creative ideas that can be assets for an organization. Though a false sense of harmony can hide the structural weaknesses in the existing company culture, it only adds to the “fear of change.” By inviting employees to share their knowledge and what’s not working for them, you’re allowing them to become active stakeholders in the transformation. One-on-one meetings are an excellent way for company leaders to encourage this. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas


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