Why Your Company Culture Isn't Changing With the Times

We have lots of ways to define culture, a word we use for everything from yogurt to museums. When it comes to the office, workplace culture is perhaps the most crucial aspect of choosing a team to join. Not fitting in is the No. 1 reason new hires are let go. A lot of that comes down to leadership in the end, and new research offers some insights into why employees might clash or stumble.


Organizational behavioralists at the University of Toronto just released a study looking at how efforts to build workplace cultures might falter. The very short answer? Leaders within the company didn't treat their colleagues as separate entities from previous offices. "Our research shows that leaders rely too much on their past experience," said co-author Yeun Joon Kim. "They believe that their past experience will continue to provide effective solutions in a new situation."

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That kind of thinking can turn into a liability. Different teams are necessarily composed of different personalities and different skill sets, not to mention temperaments, ethos, and goals. It's important to fit office solutions to the office you have, not the office you used to have. Of course, there are some constants: Kindness will always pay off, as will happy employees who help each other grow. But if you can use advice about building office culture as a template for asking the right questions, you're far more likely to find good answers for your office right now.