What Happens to Employees When Company Culture Changes

Company Culture Blog - Color

A moment in time.  If you really think about hiring, it comes down to a specific moment.  What skills are needed for the company right now?  Who has the qualities to lead this group of people?  Whose personality will fit in to this company culture?

A candidate is chosen.  All is well at the company.  The new hire is happy, and the employer is happy.

But, fast forward a few years, five years, or even ten years.  The employee is now miserable and is eventually released.  Were they fired for their performance, or was it something else?

In most cases, employees are released for poor performance, but how much does evolving company culture factor in?

What is Company Culture?

Alison Doyle of The Balance Careers says, “Company culture is the personality of a company.  It defines the environment in which employees work.  Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.”

Like any living thing, company culture changes over time.  Employee make up changes, leadership and teams change, and company priorities evolve.  When culture changes, some employees adapt.  Some become complacent.  Some get bitter and want things to return to how they once were.

Do Employees Get Fired for Company Culture Reasons?

Sure.  Some employees do.  Sometimes employees are released for who they are, especially when who they are is unwilling to adapt.

Perhaps this is not a “usual” cause of release, but think about how the following characteristics tie into long-term employee retainment:

  • A once highly skilled employee refuses to learn new skills as the company evolves. The skills they were originally hired for are now outdated.
  • An employee grows bitter about being on a team with new members. The new members have different ideas than what they are used to.  The employee participates only minimally.
  • A change in leadership causes an employee to complain to coworkers constantly. The new boss just doesn’t know things like the former one did.
  • An employee who was once praised by leadership feels like they have to prove themselves again now that new leadership is in place. They don’t feel like starting over.
  • The workplace has become just too casual for an employee’s tastes.
  • The employee make up is not what it once was.
  • The company is heading in a different direction and the employee is not on board.

Assimilating into Company Culture

In a Chron article, The Importance of Assimilation in Business, Neil Kokemuller outlines ways to make sure new employees quickly assimilate to company culture.  He suggests an orientation period, mentor program, helping employees get comfortable with colleagues by hosting lunches, and more.  He states, “Getting employees comfortable within the organization is critical to retention and overall performance.”

While this is great advice, companies might also consider taking steps to help reassimilate existing employees. 

Do new employees make existing ones feel threatened?  If so, companies might consider having one-on-one touch base meetings with existing employees to make sure they understand their value in a changing company culture.

As candidates search and companies hire, Artemis Consultants recommends taking a close look at company culture. Candidates should know what type of culture they are seeking.  Employers should constantly evaluate how evolving company culture affects its employees and desired candidates.

Being Proactive about Culture Creation

To attract top talent, employers need to lay out a clear path for growth.  One way is through mentorship.

Assessing candidates for culture fit requires careful thought and analysis. Artemis has helped thousands of hiring managers and job seekers go through the process of identifying key attributes and traits that create a successful match. For help with all of your job search and recruiting needs, please visit Artemis Consultants.

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