Company culture impacts your employees’ happiness and thus your bottom line, and as this article points out, poor company culture leads to carelessness, neglect, sunken morale, and ultimately, a lack of growth. If that’s not motivation enough to take a long, hard look at your own practice—your business—I don’t know what is. To help facilitate this introspection, we’ve assembled some red flags to watch out for. Here are eight signs that your company culture isn’t up to snuff:

1. Gossip. According to Matt Ehrlichman, author of this Fast Company article, gossip undermines transparency and collaboration—two very key components in a culture that empowers happy, productive, and engaged employees. Instead, gossip breeds exclusivity, secrets, and negativity (remember those high school cliques?). Not only does this produce an immediate detriment to morale, but over time it’s also bad for business because employee relationships are no longer based on shared goals and accomplishments.

2. Bad Role Models. Employee see, employee do. So, if your leaders are demonstrating bad habits, it’s no wonder that your employees are, too. Take a look at the people at the top and work your way down to get an idea of how your practice’s culture is faring. And, according to Tim Kuppler, founder of The Culture Advantage and CultureUniversity.com, keep especially close watch for “explosions,” which he describes as negative and critical outbursts from a leader that erode employee trust. Rodney Bliss, author of this article, refers to a person who demonstrates this type of behavior as a “hothead,” someone who makes decisions based on emotion and often “rules through intimidation and fear.”

3. Lazy Managers. Similar to number two above, lazy managers—those who aren’t willing to get into the trenches with their teams—pose a serious threat to your overall culture. As Ehrlichman says, “no number of free lunches” can remedy a situation where managers are removed from the “front lines and, by extension, your customers.” Along the same thread, Kuppler points out that managers who don’t communicate well or cultivate the space for two-way communication can actually breed fear within a company and seriously—even permanently—damage employee-manager relationships.

4. In-Fighting. Healthy competition can be a wonderful motivator, but when your employees spend their time competing against one another instead of working together, it can be a serious drain on your resources and their energy. It also breeds a serious lack of trust between coworkers, which can lead to all sorts of issues—like defensiveness (as Julie Rains, author of this article, points out), lying, and under-the-bus throwing—none of which bode well for a healthy culture.

5. All Work, No Play. Cohesive teams perform the best and enjoy work the most, but these bonds don’t develop overnight or without effort. That’s why it’s imperative to foster these relationships by incorporating play into the workday and considering cultural fit during the hiring process. Kevin Kuske, Chief Anthropologist and General Manager of the furniture company turnstone, travels the country studying company culture. In this article, he says: “If there is no evidence that people know how to have fun, or if it’s not acceptable to have fun, that’s a huge danger sign.”

6. Detached Employees. The companies renowned for their culture (Kuppler points to Zappos, Ritz Carlton, and The Container Store) have a few things in common—perhaps the most important being that their employees share an understanding of and belief in the company’s purpose. According to Ehrlichman, “the moment an employee stops believing in the company and taking pride in [his or her] job significance, your castle will fall.”

Furthermore, employees who are afraid to take risks or act themselves certainly won’t put their very best feet forward—and you’ll miss out on a wealth of new ideas, creativity, and passion. As Kuske says: “Everybody and the business will benefit by being able to be more comfortable in their own skin at work.”

7. Complaining Customers. It’s not just your employees who throw up red flags. As Rains points out, customer complaints can mean more than just problems with your product or service: “Customer responses to your company reflect their treatment by employees, particularly your front-line staff. Lots of complaints means that the caring culture you’ve tried to create has either not reached everyone or seems so contrived that customers are dissatisfied rather than delighted.”

8. Absent Families. If your employees’ significant others are suspiciously absent from company events, it may very well mean that they’re not too pleased with the way you’ve been treating their partners. According to Rain, “excessive time demands, poor working conditions, or the lack of opportunities for professional advancement” can all contribute to a “negative view of the company.”

If you recognize any of these red flags within your own practice, there’s definitely room for some cultural improvement. But that’s no reason to fret. Tomorrow, I’ll cover how to fix your culture if it feels broken. What other signs are indicative of a less-than-stellar company culture? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Want more information on how to observe these signs? Check out this article.

Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It - Regular BannerRetention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It - Small Banner
  • Four Ways to Fix a Broken Company Culture Image

    articleJan 16, 2014 | 6 min. read

    Four Ways to Fix a Broken Company Culture

    So, you read yesterday’s post , and maybe, just maybe, a red flag—or eight—jumped out at you, felt a little too familiar, or possibly even gave you the chills. And now, you’re beginning to worry because you’re seeing signs that your culture isn’t up to snuff everywhere—in your front office and your treatment area, with your suppliers and your patients. Well, set your worries aside. Of course, a less-than-stellar culture isn’t ideal, but there’s still hope—and time—to …

  • 4 Reasons Your Staff Therapists are Unmotivated Image

    articleJun 7, 2018 | 5 min. read

    4 Reasons Your Staff Therapists are Unmotivated

    Treating patients is equal parts challenging and rewarding, which is one of the reasons physical therapy is such a fulfilling profession . But if you’re noticing that your therapists’ motivation is lagging a bit, it’s important to understand why. Here are four reasons why physical therapists’ motivation can decrease, as well as steps you can take to make things better.   Their compensation is based solely on productivity. The Problem Nobody likes being reduced to a billing …

  • 5 Ways to Bring Your Company Culture to Life Image

    articleJan 22, 2014 | 5 min. read

    5 Ways to Bring Your Company Culture to Life

    Too often, company culture is like a bad romance; it starts out hot but later fizzles when other distractions get in the way. Like any lasting relationship, though, an enduring company culture requires a continuous investment of time, effort, and attention. Sure, it’s important to identify and record your cultural values , but words without action are just letters on a page. Culture—at least the kind you want—doesn’t just happen on it’s own. It’s up to you …

  • 5 Things I Wish I had Learned in PT School Image

    articleSep 12, 2017 | 10 min. read

    5 Things I Wish I had Learned in PT School

    I am not one of those people who bounded out of physical therapy school, brimming with confidence and ready to take on the world. I didn’t lead any groups or clubs during school. I made absolutely no effort to network. And I wound up spending the first two years of my PT career bouncing around a bit, trying to find my footing in the physical therapy industry. While I had a really solid clinical education in PT …

  • 5 Common Performance Review Methods Image

    articleJan 13, 2016 | 4 min. read

    5 Common Performance Review Methods

    In her Founder Letter this month, Dr. Heidi Jannenga talked about reviewing work performance and providing feedback to the staff in your rehab therapy clinic, stressing the importance of creating consistent and fair performance reviews. While rounds of applause and pats on the back are great, they can’t compete with detailed and data-based evaluations. But if you’ve never provided your staff with formal performance reviews, you may not know your options for doing so. To give you …

  • Creating a Culture Commitment: How to Document Your Practice’s Core Values  Image

    articleJan 14, 2014 | 5 min. read

    Creating a Culture Commitment: How to Document Your Practice’s Core Values

    Yesterday, I explained the importance of establishing and defining your practice’s core values —the foundation of your company culture. At the end of that post, I asked you to identify your practice’s core values and jot down rough definitions for each. Today, I’ll discuss how to document those values and their definitions in a well-written, easily distributable format. Why Before I leap into the how, though, I want emphasize why you should document your practice’s core values. …

  • Why Company Culture is So Important Image

    articleJan 2, 2014 | 4 min. read

    Why Company Culture is So Important

    Unless you’ve spent the last decade or so living under a rock, you’ve most definitely heard the phrase “company culture” being bandied about. And while it’s become the center of attention in many discussions about how to build a successful company, I have to wonder if everyone who talks about company culture actually understands what it means and how to create and maintain an authentic one. But we’ll get to that second point—the how—in a later post. …

  • The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring Image

    articleJan 25, 2016 | 2 min. read

    The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring

    Does the pressure of filling an open job position have you sweating bullets? Matching a candidate’s skills and abilities to a particular role is no easy feat, but my hiring process strategy can help you shed some of the stress. Physical therapists have a process for just about everything—except hiring. And not having a comprehensive hiring process can be costly for your practice—not only in terms of money, but also with respect to morale. After all, there’s …

  • Hiring for Cultural Fit Image

    articleJan 21, 2014 | 7 min. read

    Hiring for Cultural Fit

    If you’ve been following our blog posts this month, you might’ve noticed a recurring theme—besides company culture in general—and that’s the importance of hiring the right people for your practice. From the cost of recruiting, screening, and interviewing to the cost of onboarding and training, hiring is a huge investment for companies, and if you don’t hire the right candidates, it can come at a big expense. According to a 2012 CareerBuilder poll , 69% of companies …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.