Company Culture Naysayers — They Do Exist!

By: Chris Skaggs | @chrislskaggs


Hire a champion of your company culture, and you could be set up for monumental success. Hire a culture naysayer, and you could be doomed. You don’t have to look very hard to find a study that mentions “culture” as a top factor in why people are choosing to initially join and consequently stay with a company. In the coming years, a company’s culture will continue to become more and more important to a candidate’s decision making.

According to Ryan Scott, a contributor at Forbes, “When millennials are considering applying for a job…what matters most to them is the company’s work culture, involvement with causes, office environment, and attention to diversity and HR standards…culture is everything; for millennials.”

This will be even more important with our evolving workforce as we continue to see baby boomers retire and millennials take their places. A recent study by Ernst & Young states, “By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials.”

Culture is created and sustained by employees, so employees that you hire either add to or take away from your culture. Arguably, employees hired and/or promoted as the leaders of the organization are very important in shaping the culture. These individuals have an impactful relationship on not only how the company’s culture is perceived, but also how it’s propagated.

Unfortunately, the effects of a leader who also is a culture naysayer are sometimes felt long after that leader has exited the organization. Employees that reported to that leader have undoubtedly experienced some trickle-down effects and you will need to regain that trust to get those employees back in your culture good graces.


low-hang·ing fruit
noun, informal
a thing or person that be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort.
"we know mining our own customer base is low-hanging fruit."

culture-naysayers2We’ve all been personally guilty of taking the low-hanging fruit option, and so do many companies, especially as they grow. The important question to ask yourself is, “will the short-term gains of taking the low-hanging fruit, be worth the potential long-term disruptions?”

Take for example hiring a person with an established book of business. This scenario is great from a financial angle in that the company is going to instantly be on the receiving end of increased revenue. However, what if that person is a jerk and doesn’t fit into your company culture and share your values and visions? There is absolutely a tradeoff that deserves to be recognized.

We would argue that generally speaking, short-term gains are not worth the long-term disruptions.

Those short-term gains can certainly be tempting; however, we ask that you resist the urge. Below is a short list and some key questions to ask yourself and help you recognize a culture naysayer sooner rather than later:

  1. How do they interact with other people at your organization?
  2. Do they talk about other people with you when those individuals are not around to defend themselves?
  3. Even in non-standard business settings (happy hours, networking events), do you want to be around that individual?
  4. How do you feel after leaving a meeting with them?
  5. Do you ever wonder if your message isn’t making it whole-heartedly to the rest of the team?
  6. When the person is not around, is there a different feeling and general demeanor change?
  7. Do you ever find yourself being “guarded” and watching what you say?
  8. Is there a real possibility what is being said to your face differs with what’s being said when you aren’t present?
  9. Do you ever feel that individual’s personal success, ambitions, and aspirations, are greater than those of the company?
  10. Have you become an expert in avoidance in order to not interact with the individual?

Certainly this isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list of questions, however, these are a few questions, if answered honestly, that might save some heartache down the road. You can’t prevent every bad hire, and sometimes the low-hanging fruit option is also a culture fit —linkedin-profile-infographic