Success at the Cost of a Bad Corporate Culture Does Not Work

Cost of a bas corporate culture Graphic of a man with an award standing on a plank held by sinking employees showing that a toxic corporate culture can sabotage success

The Cost of a Bad Corporate Culture
Uber is a prime example of the potential cost of a bad corporate culture.  An initially phenomenal business success that may soon implode as a result of its failed corporate culture that appears not only unhealthy, but also unaligned with its overall business strategy.

The Way Workplace Culture Works
Corporate culture is the way business gets done day-to-day. It includes the norms of behavior that are accepted and repeated and reinforced. If employees begin to think that misbehavior is condoned, they too feel free to be abusive.

Getting Up to Speed
If you keep up with the news, the company’s problems just seem to grow as Uber tries to contain the damage. How could a company valued at almost $70 billion be so close to sinking on the backs of its employees?  It appears to be due to Uber’s poisonous organizational culture. Let’s backtrack a bit to try to learn from what happened…

At first the reports of harassment were few. But they were essentially ignored. The poison of thinking that this kind of behavior was OK began to spread.

Instead of landing hard on those guilty of harassment, Uber leaders seemed to overlook the unethical (not to mention illegal) behavior. The only effective way to maintain a work environment where workers feel safe and supported is to hold those who operate outside of stated cultural goals fully accountable.

Creating Accountability
Expectations for the standards of behavior need to be crystal clear…both what is required and what will not be tolerated. HR leaders need to be supported by company executives as they set up a consistent and transparent system of rewards that encourage desired behaviors and of consequences that make unacceptable infractions undesirable.

But There’s More to Learn from Uber’s Situation
Especially for those tech companies who are dazzled by early success and eager to adopt a strategy of growth at any cost. Many cheered Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s aggressiveness. They admired his guts and envied his power. But they should take a look at Uber now and the cost of a bad corporate culture.

The Business Impact of Corporate Culture
Our organizational alignment research found that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performance in terms of:

  • Revenue growth
  • Profitability
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Leadership effectiveness
  • Employee engagement

The Bottom Line
Profitable growth is what most companies strive for. But growth is not sustainable at the cost of a bad corporate culture. If you are looking to build a company that has the legs to succeed and grow over the long term, rely upon a company culture that is healthy, accountable, and fully aligned with the business strategy for success.

To learn more about creating a high performance and purposeful culture to fix the cost of a bad corporate culture, download The 3 Levels of Corporate Culture that Matter Most

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