I am a huge proponent of culture and have been a resounding voice for healthy company culture as of late. If the company's culture is unhealthy; most of the time, it is not caused by employees speaking out. They are scared to speak. A culture of fear is the worst and most unhealthy atmosphere. It can lead to physical and mental health issues or maybe even substance abuse issues. This can be costly in compensation due to absenteeism and can potentially result in workers' compensation or legal issues .
The stakeholders sense it and see it. They do not hear any words from employees. They feel it when they don't see smiles, when they see stress, exasperation, a negative demeanor, lack of cordialness, fatigue, and by observing interactions. It is an almost robotic atmosphere. They are either working like machines or are robotic in their interactions. They act like they have a chip running a program in their brain. That's when the word spreads.
The stress is going to continue to cause more health issues, which results in more time off being taken unexpectedly. People are afraid to say no, put in more hours, yet everything they do; they feel is not good enough. Positive feedback is tough to find when your boss is unhappy, and their boss is unhappy, and so on. The vicious cycle of negativity. Pressure is placed on you because your boss gets pressured, and that is another cycle. Then the anxiety kicks in. That then circulates into misery. You know what they say, "misery loves company". Well now; misery has become your company.
The reputation of the company has been put on the line. Resumes start being revisited silently, then resignations will slowly trickle through, and either the employees escape from prison or serve a life sentence. The optimist in me thinks maybe the company will see this negative impact, own their culture, and correct it; if need be.
I now have statistics to back up my perspective from a LinkedIn Learning Course. In a course regarding reputation, Lida Citroën states that:
"76% of people are unlikely to accept a job offer with a company with a bad reputation." She then breaks it down and addresses the unemployed, saying "almost 50% would only go to a 'bad' company if the salary was higher than their previous employer."
This is so true and I can speak from my own experience with the BBB interview. I wanted to channel Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek and run. "Run Bambi Run". If companies have difficulty hiring at any level, they need to step back and assess why. I have heard horror stories about a local distribution center through word of mouth, but heard that the company is amazing with customer service. I didn't form a judgment because I do not do business with the company. However, in this area, they have a damaged reputation because of how they treat their employees.
As I have been seeking employment, I see the same positions week after week for an Operations Manager and a Human Resources Manager even offering a relocation package. These are positions that most people would eagerly apply for and accept. However, week after week, the positions remain open. It then crossed my mind that maybe it was because of the culture. Bad news travels fast. Most of the people living near the distribution center know of their reputation. That is probably why the relocation package was offered.
Whoever accepts either of the positions is in for a rude awakening when they move to a bad company and an undesirable area. Before running to the greener pasture, take a shovel to dig in and research what you are in for. Actually speak to people. If you can't speak face to face to read their non-verbal language, speak on the phone to assess their tone and pitch. Texting "my company is great" may be more misleading. You want to try to hear and see them. If their voice is energized and higher pitched, then they more than likely do think the company is great. If they speak in a voice monotone and tone deaf, that is a red flag. Always research before you reposition.