Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Draining Corporate Culture: What to do?

I've pasted below a blog post that I wrote some time ago. At the time, I felt it would be a rather humorous post to display the kind of corporate culture that I felt some organizations have created. It was a bit facetious on my part. Looking back, I didn't really do much with it, but write it down and leave it at that.

What I'd like to do this time around is ask you a few questions after reading it. I have left it unedited, in it's original format. Instead of looking at it as a humor piece, I would like to get your thoughts on whether or not you have been a part of an organization like this before. If not, have you seen these kind of cultures in other companies? What do you do to challenge these cultures? Are you a change agent or do you merely walk away from the company?

Let me know your strategies for dealing with this situation: (Disclaimer: The below excerpt is from a fake interview with a made up executive of what I believe is a non-existent company, completely made up for your enjoyment and to foster discussion):

“Welcome to Black Hole Light Processing, Inc. Here at the Black Hole, we pride ourselves on employee retention! Sure, our corporate culture may be dark, shady, and lonely. We may foster a shallow and empty morale, driving the fun out of the organization. But, look at these turnover rates!! They’re lower than the self-esteem of everyone who works for us! And check out our productivity: Higher than our top executive egos. Now that is success at its finest!”

“So, how do we do it here at the Black Hole? How do we keep turnover down and retention up? Well, quite frankly, we do just enough to keep people here. Raises and bonuses are common and competitive. When you pay your people properly, it’s much harder for them to leave. We practice the “Tear-‘em-Down-then-Build-‘em-Up” philosophy. We push hard, and then we push harder. If morale gets too low, then we build them up with praise and complements. It’s these few and far between “pats on the back” that they’ll remember! Trust me, it’s these random acts of kindness that keeps them coming back for more.”

“We also discourage creativity and risk and we make tasks repetitive and uniform. Doing this dumbifies the workforce, where the employees know nothing better than what they have. We also overload the drones, creating 12 hour workdays, 6 days a week. When the employees are busy, they don’t have time to search for other jobs.”

“Well, I can’t give away all our secrets. Otherwise, how would we maintain our competitive advantage? The above was just a few tips for you to share with others on how they can begin to lower their turnover. See, once you’ve got your people in the quicksand, they’re never gettin’ out. The harder they try, the more stuck they get. And that’s really what it’s all about: Recruiting the right stars, and keeping those stars in your galaxy!”

Have you seen this type of culture in an organization? How do you deal with it? What strategies do you have when walking into a company like this one?

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