Fancy Tech Is No Cure for Bad Corporate Culture

Employees in Corporate Office
By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 04, 2019 12:06 PM

It's too late for spoiler alerts, so here's how Avengers: Endgame ends -- with the credits. Sorry, I'm a legal writer, not a movie critic. Not much of a comic either.

So here's what you should know: Like Thanos, a big corporation or even a small business may have the power of the universe at its fingertips, but all that technology can't redeem a villain. See how that works?

Villainous Culture

Uber, despite its game-changing app, was another villain in the universe. The company culture was toxic enough to offend an army of Uber drivers. How bad was it? It was so bad the company's own lawyers were troubled. The moral of the story is technology can help, but it is not enough to change a culture. FastCompany writer Ilya Tulvio says, "you have to fix your culture before you change your technology." So before you drop hundreds of dollars are a new software program, sit down with employees and ask:

  • How's everybody doing?
  • Do we have a problem here?
  • Can we all just get along?

It doesn't have to be a major production. In fact, it's a good idea to interview workers individually. They may open up better that way. Then look for practical and technical solutions to their problems. If discrimination is a problem, for example, training and technology can work together. In the right hands, artificial intelligence can help eliminate even implicit bias.

Implicit Issues

Recognizing implicit bias can be hard to see in yourself or your workers. Nobody wants to see their bad side, but everybody has one. Programs can help, but it takes training to eliminate behavioral problems. At a minimum, your main manager should take training courses to recognize and deal with issues. Employees -- especially if they exhibit problem behaviors -- should also be educated.

One of the best ways to change company culture, however, is at the hiring, promotion, and firing stages. By using multiple reviewers, managers can ensure they are fair and not biased towards workers. And by carefully reviewing them, the company can implement needed changes.

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