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8 ways to completely destroy your company culture

By Kelly Batke

3 min read

8 ways to completely destroy your company culture
Illustration by Justin Alm

For some leaders, a strong workplace culture is a no-brainer. You treat employees with respect, communicate well, inspire others to do the same, and the whole company will reap the rewards. Simple, right?

Sadly, no. Some leaders, it seems, actually want their company to sink. If you happen to be one of these leaders, you're in luck. I've compiled a short list to help you turn your once happy, profitable ship into the RMS Titanic.

For those of you who've had to endure a poor working environment, some of these will be a little too close to home. Prepare to cringe, hard.

8 ways to completely destroy your company culture

1. Disappear during times of turmoil

Can you think of a more perfect time to work on that golf game in Palm Springs? Or head off to Southeast Asia for a month? If your company's in turmoil and in drastic need of some leadership advice, just disappear for an extended period of time and come back once the dust has settled. Oh, and be sure to avoid checking your email while you're away.

2. Insult your coworkers publicly

Meetings are truly the best time to launch insults at fellow workers. It gives you a platform AND an audience. Don't hold back, either. If public execution isn't your style, there are more clandestine approaches available. For example, gossiping about your colleagues behind their backs. Don't worry, it'll eventually get back to them.

3. Take credit for others' work

That latest sales deal that came inyou know, that one where you gave the rep the contactso why not go ahead and own that sale? Might as well. Don't forget to take the commission too!

4. Turn to cronyism and nepotism

Forget about relying on fair hiring practices and promoting those who deserve it. Instead, hire that cousin of yours with only half the experience. Not only will it simplify your hiring process, but you'll actually know the name of one of your employees. Everybody wins!

5. Micromanage

Is that an apostrophe used incorrectly? Was one of your employees five minutes late yesterday? Find the smallest things possible to criticize your employees for. Be sure to also CC other employees so your micromanaging doesn’t go unnoticed.

6. Bring in consultants to re-arrange things

Nothing frustrates employees more than consultants hired to 'help turn around the company.' Make sure you meet with them behind closed doors too, and then give them full rein to your company. As a bonus, let them plan and execute a team-building exercise. Your team'll love it.

7. Eliminate any perks

Pare down health benefits, eliminate holiday parties, and take away free things, like coffee. Besides, coffee is bad for you…isn’t it? Alternatively, give your people perks they don't actually need or want, like ping pong tables. There's nothing like a quick band-aid to solve all of your company's culture woes.

8. Outsource

If all else fails, begin outsourcing, one department at a time. Preferably to an under-developed country. Think of how much money you could save! Remind employees that it’s your duty to reduce costs and increase ‘operational efficiency.' Tanking your culture was never so easy.

In all seriousness, I hope that you're NOT interested in ever destroying your workplace culture. Remember, the example you set as a leader is critical not just for current employees, but for attracting new talent as well. With the increasing transparency of toxic workplaces, it isn’t as easy as it once was to let your corporate culture slide.

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Kelly Batke

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