Why Workplace Culture Fails: Treating Symptoms Instead of the Diagnosis

Diagnosing Workplace Issues

Most often in the workplace and business world where we live, our business leaders are driven by a sense of urgency starting from the top and rolling down the chain of command. We check our boxes, blind cc our emails and updating our excel spreadsheets seeking a band-aid and short-term solution while failing to address the diagnosis or root cause. In short, we treat the symptoms instead of the diagnosis.

It’s like getting a tummy tuck instead of changing your exercise and eating habits in order to make a lifestyle change. It’s time to make a change, and it’s time to discuss why your workplace culture is less than okay. It’s time to make a change that will have a long lasting impact on your company’s culture, business and the lives of your employees. In order to successfully eradicate the majority of problems in the workplace it’s important to tackle issues as they arise and not let them fester.

Fixing workplace issues and re-establishing a warm and inviting workplace culture can be difficult, but with proper attention to problems you will be on your way to diagnosis the root of the problem instead of treating symptoms. No matter what type of problems erupt your workplace there are fixes that can help resolve issues prior to letting them affect your overall company culture. Here are a few ways to diagnosing the problem instead of treating the problem with a band-aid:

Fixing Workplace Culture

Host an open forum: When issues arise that affects the entire staff or are of vital importance hold an open forum to air out issues. Obviously this might have to work on departmental levels depending on the size of your company, but as professionals everyone should be able to opening discuss an important issue that affects company culture. Gathering your team and brainstorming specifics on how to solve certain issues gives your employees a sense of belonging and importance, which directly affects how they feel about a company. As a supervisor it’s important to be at this forum and help mediate the discussion.

Conduct regular performance reviews: When a situation arises with specific employees over and over it’s important to notate such performance. Performance reviews should evaluate whether employees continually meet expectations set forth by each department or the company as a whole. This is extremely effective in finding areas of weakness that have been fixed with simple band-aids. If a co-worker is slacking on a job or isn’t performing up to standard goals knowing the root of the issue will allow you to fix a problem that might be deeper then an employees lack of interest in performance.

Create relationships with employees: One of the easiest ways to find out the root of problems in the workplace is to create honest relationships with employees. Forming trust with co-workers will get you further then interrogating or writing someone up for bad performance. Without knowing the exact cause behind low performing employees you might only be slapping a temporary fix to the problem. When you have relationships with each of your employees they’ll be more willing to come to you with certain problems their facing in their workplace.

Issues that affect company culture might be as simple as lack of training or morale in certain areas of the business. Taking a deeper look into your performance reviews and having a clear, open and honest form of communication are easy fixes to issues that arise in the workplace. Stop treating symptoms and start diagnosing the problem in your workplace and you will find not only an increase in productivity, but morale as well.

How to Improve YOUR workplace culture?

What are ways that you’ve taken in your company to improve workplace culture? Are you treating the symptons or diagnosising the problems?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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