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What NOT to do for good work culture

By Adaa Adhaulya
June 24, 2015 09:38 IST
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This is what absolutely kills office culture

Photographs: Dilip Muralidaran/Creative Commons

Working these days has become like old McDonald's farm, with office culture here and office culture there and office culture everywhere. These days when job seekers consider new opportunities, bonuses and high salaries are not the only important things they look at.

People are now looking for all-round jobs which they actually enjoy and which are flexible, and satisfying. So what is it that clinches the deal for job seekers these days? You guessed it right -- work culture.

Everyone talks about good office culture and how companies can improve working conditions. So let us take a different route and talk about what all absolutely kills office culture. Instead of talking about the best office cultures, let us talk about the worst possible things that can be done.

(Disclaimer: DO NOT follow any of the following points, they are a work of fiction and any resemblance to real companies probably means they need to make some changes)

1. Build your team without intention

It is said that setting the tone of your company begins with each hire. Who cares? Whenever you need new hires, just pick whoever comes along first. Whether they fit in with the company environment or with their co-workers is their problem, not yours, your employees are adults and should be able to deal with all the drama this decision might create (It's also probably good training for the real world).

2. Don't appreciate, but always reprimand

If an employee does something good, innovative and productive, should you go out of your way to appreciate it? Absolutely not, you're paying them aren't you, isn't that what they are supposed to do anyway? Also your employees should work hard and well for the simple satisfaction of getting work done, not for the sweet results the might get. It's written in practically every holy book that you should never hanker after returns and gains. Positive feedback is just an HR tactic; you don't have time for all that!

But of course if someone does something wrong, you should get on to them in an instant and reprimand them, with witnesses watching on if at all possible. Your employees are your drones, how will they learn if their mistakes aren't pointed out for everyone to see. They need to fear making mistakes. That is the only way to inspire productivity.

3. Take all the credit wherever you can

Hey, it's only fair. You hired these people, they work for you. You are their overlord and what they do all belongs to you. Again, you do pay them money, what else do these greedy employees want. All the glory for the work done by your employees belongs to you, step up and take it. Anyway if you pull people out in front of their peers, they might feel all embarrassed, and then how will they work? You are just helping them out and saving them unnecessary bothers so they can continue with their work.

4. Competition is a sure-fire way for motivation

Make sure your employees are always competing with each other. Of course there might be many amazing companies out there which are our competitors, but just like charity, competition also begins from home. Have your employees battle it out, let them snitch on each other, backstab, and do whatever it takes to be on top. After all, survival of the fittest is a rule of nature; we aren't making this stuff up. Once you have separated the strong from the week, there is ample time to learn how to cooperate with each other (if not, refer to point 1 -- It is not your problem). Filter out the weak and then go ahead and compete with other companies with your strong and fit team.

5. Don't take suggestions from the lowly employees

Unless someone has an idea worth stealing (see point 3), there is absolutely no reason to listen to suggestions or ideas from your employees. You are the one with all the fancy degrees and the lofty job title, and there is a reason that all these people are working in lower positions. In a whole day you hardly have any time to listen to everyone anyway, schedule such 'brainstorming' (sigh) sessions carefully, that too just to see if there are any ideas worth stealing.

6. Show favouritism and haze outgoing employees

Whenever it's time to downsize, do it with a lot of prejudice. You need to keep your organisation off-balance otherwise how will the employee-competition be fun (see point 4). Fire good people just to keep things interesting for the workplace.

Another thing to remember is that people who switch jobs or resign are quitters, and quitters never win, and that you do not want to be associated with such people. Do not make it easy for them. Life isn't fair and the sooner they learn that, the better for them. In fact you are still giving them precious life advice, they just need to realise that.

7. Stalk your employees through their social media accounts

These people working for you are your employees, make sure you keep track of what they are posting and tweeting and liking and blogging. Who knows what shenanigans they might get up to if left unchecked and heavens forbid they might even be talking about you or the organisation online. The moment you get a sniff of something unsavoury on their social media, you have every right to demand for their passwords so you can get the complete scoop.

8. Work-life balance? Surely you meant to say work IS life

Need to spend time with the family. Need a vacation. Need. Need. Need.

Your company is on a mission and you cannot have people who need a 'Life outside work'. Absolutely not! Work is life and life is work, that is all that matters and you definitely do not have time for sickness, family obligations and all that jazz. People can pay attention to 'life' when and if they reach a position equal to yours.

With all these horrifying work culture ethics in place, you will surely have the meanest and fittest team all over.

Truth be told, that 'team' might just include you with a lot of disgruntled employees plotting your downfall.

If any of the above points resonate with you, even faintly, rush along and make changes. A happy employee creates a successful company, and whatever people might say, office culture is a very important part of a job.

As always if you have any experiences or ideas (see point 3) to share, add them to the comment section, we won't steal them (see point 3)! Promise!!

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Adaa Adhaulya