Company Culture

Company culture myths we should stop believing in 2020

company culture myths

Company culture myths are a dime a dozen, which is not all that surprising to be honest. After all, we live in a time when there are people who honestly believe Megan Fox is one of a series of synthetic clones, Stephen King killed John Lennon, Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing, Miley Cyrus was a tool of distraction hired by the Obama administration, Melania Trump is a decoy lookalike (pretty plausible actually) and Beyoncé Knowles is really Solange's mother. 

Yep - if a conspiracy theory is kooky enough, you can bet your bottom dollar there is an online forum where people spend actual hours of their lives debating the notion and finding proof to back it up. Company culture myths may not be all that drastic, but it can be just as pervasive and tempting to believe.

Here are a 7 misconceptions about corporate cultures we need to stop believing in 2020 if we wish to foster happy, healthy work environments: 

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1. It's all about the money 

There are still certain old-school business owners who believe that compensation and benefits are the only things prospective employees are looking for when they choose the companies at which they apply. So long as people are paid a competitive rate, can expect regular raises and they have access to a variety of fringe benefits, they will stick around and add value to the company, right?

Not so, unfortunately.

For instance, when the Top Employers Institute determines the top companies to work for in South Africa for the year ahead, they look at everything from upskilling opportunities and training protocols, to succession planning, diversity and inclusion, and more. 


2. Just add fun for instant culture

You cannot build a culture on happy hours alone. Ping pong tables in the breakroom, quirky conference rooms and quarterly pizza parties are all good and well, but these are just the cherries on top. In the right environment, these fun additions add to a culture, but when employees spend the rest of the time battling archaic feedback systems, stymied by a lack of resources or going without recognition for their work, it's not going to make a difference to the overall vibe at all. 

3. HR is responsible for culture

Happily for the busy HR directors out there, this is also a big fat myth that needs to go the way of the dinosaurs ASAP.

Company culture may be driven from the top down, but it is everyone’s responsibility to make it work - from the CEO, to middle managers and the very employees who form a part of it. As such, it helps to appoint a culture team to keep tabs on certain KPIs and inform relevant role players if realignment is in order. As a business, you’re all in this together. 

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4. There's no way it affects our bottom line for real

Oh contraire mon frere. Culture has been shown to have a direct impact on your bottom line. Highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability and companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those who don't.

In fact, for every 1% increase in employee engagement, you can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for your organisation, and companies with a strong work culture outperform their competitors by 147%.

So yes, it can most definitely have an impact on the profitability of your enterprise. 

READ MORE: 9 Ways a strong work culture can help achieve your business objectives


5. Strong cultures are uniform throughout the company

Nope, not true either. While consistency and fairness should be on an even keel throughout any company, lock-step uniformity should definitely not be your main aim. Depending on the nature of your business, you will find that your graphic designers need a different environment than the ops team does, for instance. As long as your overarching vision and mission remain the same, these slight differences should not be a problem. 


6. Culture only matters when you reach a certain size

Company culture has an impact on your business whether you employ 5 people, 50 or 500. If you know what kind of culture you’re shooting for right from the start, and hire for cultural fit, it will be all the easier to reach your business goals in the long run. 

READ MORE: 3 South African CEOs driving the company culture agenda and what we can learn from them


7. It can wait a bit until we have time

Unfortunately, this is also a myth. Whether you are actively paying attention to your company culture or not, it’s going to develop. The difference is that when you are driving the development thereof, you can address issues like poor management, victimisation, unfriendly competition and negative gossip straight off the bat as it crops up. When you’re not paying attention, these can become the weeds that choke your flourishing business garden. 

There you have it - seven company culture myths we should all stop believing in 2020. 

In the meantime, take a look at our 10-step guide to building an employee recognition recognition program from scratch. Simply click the button below to get your copy now 👇

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