8 Signs your organizational culture is crashing down

Faith Ocampo Published on May 25, 2017 Last updated on February 13, 2024

A declining organizational culture is the last thing your business needs. Here are 8 signs your brand is going on a downward spiral.

A healthy and thriving organizational culture promotes employee engagement, innovation, and customer satisfaction. However, there are signs that indicate your culture may be deteriorating, potentially leading to negative consequences for your business.

Today, we will explore eight key signs that suggest your organizational culture is crashing down. In recognizing and addressing these signs, you can revitalize your culture and set your company on a path to success.

1. Lack of Clear Values and Vision

A strong organizational culture is built upon a foundation of clear values and a compelling vision. So, when these elements are lacking, it can signify trouble for your culture. For instance, conflicting messages and actions can lead to confusion and erode trust among employees.

Without a clear set of values, employees may struggle to make decisions aligned with the company’s mission. Similarly, the absence of a well-defined vision leaves employees feeling lost and disconnected from the goals of the organization.

Moreover, when there is an absence of shared values among employees, it becomes challenging to create a cohesive and collaborative culture.

  • Reviewing Your Core Values

    To address this, revisit and articulate your organization’s core values, ensuring they are aligned with your mission and purpose. Communicate these values consistently to your employees, and make sure they are integrated into the daily operations and decision-making processes.

    Through a clear vision, you provide a sense of direction and purpose for your employees. This allows them to align their efforts with the organization’s goals.

2. Poor Communication and Transparency

Effective communication and transparency are essential pillars of a healthy organizational culture. However, when communication breaks down and transparency is lacking, it can be a sign of a culture in decline. In addition, information hoarding and silos prevent the free flow of knowledge and inhibit collaboration among teams.

Without open dialogue and feedback channels, employees may feel unheard and disengaged. Rumors and grapevine communication can take hold in the absence of transparent and clear communication practices. In turn, this further erodes trust and undermines the culture.

  • Encouraging Open Communication

    To improve communication and transparency, develop an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged and valued. Establish regular channels for sharing information, such as team meetings, newsletters, and internal communication platforms.

    Provide opportunities for employees to provide feedback and suggestions, and make sure their voices are heard. Transparent decision-making processes, where employees understand the reasoning behind key decisions, build trust and promote a culture of transparency.

3. High Employee Turnover and Disengagement

Employee turnover and disengagement are strong indicators of a deteriorating organizational culture. When employees feel disconnected from the company’s values, vision, and purpose, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Constant turnover disrupts team dynamics, reduces productivity, and increases recruitment and training costs. Moreover, low employee morale and motivation can signal disengagement, indicating a cultural problem that needs to be addressed.

  • Valuing and Engaging Employees

    To mitigate high employee turnover and disengagement, focus on building a culture that values and engages employees. Provide opportunities for professional growth and development so that employees feel supported in their career aspirations. Also, recognize and appreciate their contributions regularly, acknowledging their hard work and dedication.

    Create a positive work environment that encourages work-life balance and promotes employee well-being. After all, investing in your employees and creating a culture that nurtures their growth reduces turnover and increases overall engagement.

4. Resistance to Change and Innovation

One common principle adopted by businesses today is this: a culture that embraces change and innovation is vital for success. However, if your organization exhibits signs of resistance to change, it may be a red flag for a declining culture.

When employees resist change, it can hinder growth, limit innovation, and impede progress. This resistance often stems from fear, lack of trust, or a culture that is deeply rooted in the status quo.

  • Emphasizing Adaptability

    To promote a culture that embraces change and innovation, communicate the importance of adaptability and continuous improvement. Encourage employees to share their ideas and perspectives, providing a platform for innovation and experimentation.

    Create a safe environment where failure is seen as a learning opportunity rather than a setback. In showing your commitment to change and innovation, you can create a culture that thrives on growth and adaptability.

5. Lack of Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for achieving organizational goals and driving success. When there is a lack of collaboration within your organization, it is a sign that your culture may be deteriorating. Silos and departmental rivalries hinder knowledge sharing and hinder cross-functional collaboration.

In addition, employees working in isolation may become more focused on individual goals rather than collective objectives. This lack of collaboration not only inhibits productivity but also stifles creativity and innovation.

  • Encouraging Cross-Functional Interactions

    To promote collaboration and teamwork, break down silos and encourage cross-functional interactions. Nurture a collaborative work environment by establishing shared goals and promoting a sense of collective responsibility.

    Encourage employees to collaborate on projects and provide opportunities for cross-departmental training and development. Through a culture of collaboration, you create a supportive and synergistic environment where employees can thrive.

6. Absence of Recognition and Appreciation

Recognition and appreciation are powerful motivators that contribute to a positive organizational culture. So, when employees feel undervalued and unrecognized for their work, it can erode morale and impact engagement.

An absence of regular feedback, appreciation, and recognition can lead to disengagement and a decline in overall performance. Needless to say, a culture that fails to acknowledge and celebrate achievements misses out on opportunities to reinforce desired behaviors.

  • Properly Acknowledging Employees

    To address the absence of recognition and appreciation, establish formal and informal mechanisms for acknowledging employee contributions. Make sure to implement a performance management system that includes regular feedback and recognition.

    In addition, encourage peer-to-peer recognition and provide opportunities for employees to celebrate their successes. Within a culture of appreciation, you promote a positive and supportive environment where employees feel valued and motivated.

7. Unethical Behavior and Lack of Integrity

Ethics and integrity are the foundations of a strong organizational culture. Hence, you should always watch out for signs of unethical behavior and a lack of integrity within your organization. After all, non-compliance with policies and regulations can lead to legal and reputational risks.

A lack of transparency in decision-making processes erodes trust among employees. Tolerance of unethical conduct, meanwhile, can create a toxic work environment that negatively impacts employee morale and engagement. Nurturing a culture of ethics and integrity is, therefore, essential for building a sustainable and respected organization.

  • Establishing a Code of Conduct

    To address unethical behavior and promote integrity, establish a code of conduct that sets clear expectations for ethical behavior. Also, provide ethics training for employees to ensure they understand the company’s values and their responsibilities.

    Encourage open communication channels for reporting unethical conduct, and take prompt action to address any issues. Lead by example and promote a culture of honesty, transparency, and ethical decision-making throughout the organization.

8. Ineffective Leadership and Management

Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping organizational culture. When there are signs of ineffective leadership and management, it can significantly impact the culture of your organization. Additionally, lack of trust and respect in leadership can lead to disengagement and resistance among employees.

Micromanagement and a lack of empowerment hinder creativity and autonomy. Inconsistent or biased decision-making erodes trust and can create a sense of injustice within the organization. Effective leadership and management, therefore, are essential for creating a positive culture that inspires employees and drives organizational success.

  • Investing in Leadership Development

    To improve leadership and management practices, invest in leadership development programs to enhance managerial skills and promote effective communication. In addition, encourage leaders to lead by example, demonstrating the values and behaviors expected of employees.

    Establish a culture of trust and empowerment by delegating authority and providing opportunities for growth and autonomy. Regularly evaluate and provide feedback to leaders, supporting their professional development. In cultivating effective leadership, you lay the foundation for a strong organizational culture.

How a Poor Organizational Culture Affects Your Customers

Your business’ organizational culture has a profound impact on your customers. More specifically, a poor culture results in decreased customer satisfaction, loss of trust, and ultimately, a decline in customer loyalty. Here are some aspects of a poor organizational culture that customers often see:

  • Lack of Customer-Centricity

    A poor organizational culture often fails to prioritize the needs and satisfaction of customers. When employees are not aligned with a customer-centric mindset, they may lack empathy and fail to understand customer requirements. This can lead to frustrated customers who feel unheard and undervalued.

  • Inconsistent Service Delivery

    If your business has a poor organizational culture, there may be a lack of standardized processes and protocols for delivering services. As a result, customers receive different levels of service quality depending on the employee they interact with. Consequently, inconsistency erodes trust and can lead to customer dissatisfaction.

  • Poor Communication

    A dysfunctional organizational culture often manifests in poor communication practices within your company. When employees are not effectively communicating with each other, it becomes challenging to relay accurate and timely information to customers. This can then result in misunderstandings, delayed responses, and an overall lack of transparency.

  • Lack of Accountability

    A poor organizational culture may lead to an environment where accountability is lacking. In fact, employees who do not take ownership of their actions show a lack of follow-through on customer issues. As a result, customers may feel neglected or ignored, further eroding trust and damaging the relationship with your business.

  • High Employee Turnover

    A toxic organizational culture often results in high employee turnover rates. Constantly changing customer service representatives or account managers can disrupt customer relationships and continuity of service. Because of this, customers may need to repeatedly explain their needs and preferences to new employees.

  • Negative Word-of-Mouth

    A poor organizational culture can lead to dissatisfied employees who may share their negative experiences with everyone they know. Negative word-of-mouth spreads quickly, potentially deterring customers from engaging with your business. What’s worse, in the age of social media, one unhappy customer can have a significant impact on the reputation of your company.

  • Lack of Innovation and Adaptability

    A business with a poor organizational culture often struggles to innovate and adapt to changing customer needs and market trends. In other words, companies that fail to embrace change may fall behind their competitors. If this happens to you, customers may see your business as outdated and unresponsive.

  • Difficulty in Problem Resolution

    When your business has a poor organizational culture, it can be challenging for employees to address and resolve customer issues. More specifically, lack of empowerment, unclear processes, and a blame-oriented culture can hinder the timely resolution of customer problems. This can result in customer frustration, prolonged dissatisfaction, and potential churn.

Summary

Organizational culture is a critical driver of success for any business. Therefore, you should always pay attention to the signs that indicate a declining culture. In doing so, you can take proactive measures to address the underlying issues and revitalize your organization.

You can also rebuild a healthy and thriving culture that will contribute to the long-term success of your business through being proactive. Remember, organizational culture is not static, and continuous effort is required to maintain and strengthen it.

Embodying the company s core values through its work culture is a cornerstone of well-performing teams. Open Access BPO is an expert in this, as we make sure we keep our agents engaged which then results in lower attrition rates.

A diverse and empowered team such as ours will surely help your business grow, no matter what language or channel you use. Contact us today to learn more or to begin a partnership with us.

office employee ignoring coworker during team meeting shows failed employee engagement

A strong and positive organizational culture enables call centers to build, facilitate, and deliver great customer experiences.

Fostering a positive culture is crucial for contact centers. Your culture—which encompasses your business philosophy and internal practices—is predictive of your company’s performance.


A healthy work environment helps create the right attitude among customer service agents, which translates to high-quality performance. In contrast, an unhealthy workplace filled with defunct relationships and weak leadership dampens employee engagement and productivity.

Leaders must ensure that their team dynamics brings out the best in their employees. But if you’re experiencing these signs, your culture may be deteriorating.

1.     The group doesn’t communicate anymore.

coworkers in meeting ignoring each other using smartphones

Productive and results-driven teams have one thing in common: they always communicate with one another. If your employees used to discuss work matters openly and enthusiastically but have since ceased to do so, take that as an alarming sign. Blocked information flow leads to mistrust and misunderstandings, which lowers people’s morale and productivity.

2.     Everyone becomes too critical of one another.

pissed employee annoyed at coworker using phone during office meeting

High-performing teams are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each of their members. This allows them to work on their lapses and enhance their capabilities even further. But if everyone becomes overly critical of their teammates, it creates rifts among them, which may escalate into personal grudges.

3.     Blame-throwing increases.

office employee pointing blame on coworker during meeting showing failed office culture

Blame-throwing is a sign that your employees lack accountability. They may not care about the company’s objectives anymore, and thus, they’re taking the easy escape by pointing their fingers at someone else.

4.     Respect decreases.

heated discussion in office meeting coworkers pointing fingers

Great team dynamics starts with respect. Everyone should respect each other by understanding their differences, providing fair feedback, and communicating in a professional manner. Employees that don’t respect one another will have trouble working in a team or even listening to others’ ideas.

5.     People isolate themselves.

annoyed office worked isolated from happy coworkers

When your customer service agents retreat from the group, they become self-absorbed and thus lose sight of the bigger picture. This means they’d stop caring about your call center’s goals and their team’s performance.

6.     Rivalries become more pronounced.

office rivalry coworkers arm wrestling

A healthy competition keeps things interesting and may motivate employees to do their best. However, when your agents’ focus shifts from achieving your contact center’s goals to beating others just to appear powerful, collaboration becomes difficult.

7.     No one wants to try new things anymore.

bored business employees yawning during office meeting

Demoralized employees are pessimists. They become passive, preferring to do their routine tasks, but they’ll refuse to take initiative or come up with new ideas. They’ll just agree with everything, instead of actively participating in discussions to improve your policies or processes.

8.     Team performance declines.

business team showing failed organizational culture standing in grassy field with sign

All of the things mentioned above lead to poor team performance. This poses a serious risk to the customer experience you deliver and to your brand’s overall reputation.

Call center leaders can build a positive organizational culture by emphasizing the company’s core values and philosophy. Investing in employee engagement is also a must, so that you can keep your agents happy, optimistic, and productive.

Faith is a digital media enthusiast aiming to become an active part of the tech world by sharing her insights. She likes to blog about everything digimarketing, technology, and social media.
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