Yes, there’s another 30 – at least. Bob Little illustrates several more signs of an unhealthy organsation.
In addition to the 30 people-orientated issues that indicate an unhealthy organisation, which were published last week on TJ, here are 30 more. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive – but it represents the observations and thoughts of a number of HR and L&D professionals.
In no particular order, the further 30 shades of an unhealthy organisation are:
- Meetings proliferate – and regularly over-run.
- Meetings are impromptu, allowing no time for preparation. They’re poorly run and result in confusion regarding the actions to be taken.
- There are lengthy periods between decisions being made and implemented.
- There’s little enthusiasm for L&D, whose budgets are cut – and/or senior management appear disinterested in worker development.
- Having undertaken L&D activities, workers are discouraged from applying what they’ve learned.
- The organisation’s purpose, vision and mission become unclear – causing operational confusion.
- Those affected by decisions aren’t consulted.
- Workers’ roles and responsibilities are unclear and/or overlap.
- People don’t know what the other parts of their organisation do – and don’t want to find out.
- Senior management react with hostility to any perceived challenge to their status, self-esteem or authority.
- Worker resignations take senior managers by surprise – and there are no succession plans in place.
- Worker expectations are raised – then dashed by senior managers.
- Churn rates are high – especially among the most able.
- A blame culture becomes prevalent.
- Recruiters engage new workers who’re similar to themselves – to keep the status quo, through a fear of embracing the unknown, and/or prejudice.
- There are acknowledged ‘favourites’ – individuals and/or functions – in the organisation.
- Fashionable and/or quick ‘fixes’ are adopted to tackle major issues.
- Having offered support for initiatives, senior management support evaporates once problems arise.
- There’s a distinction between success and effectiveness. Successful people aren’t effective – and effective people aren’t recognised and rewarded.
- High performers feel under-valued, frustrated and, ultimately, driven from the organisation.
- Key roles turn over too quickly for job holders to make any impact.
- Cost-cutting measures are imposed – often without warning – adversely effecting morale and performance.
- Managers don’t know – or care – what’s unsettling and upsetting their workers.
- Workers waste their time – because of demotivation and poor supervision.
- Willing workers are overloaded – because they’re dependable. Less effective people have lighter workloads (and are more successful).
- Strong financial performance disguises people management and institutionalised organisational incompetence.
- Key performance areas aren’t personally targeted. So, no one’s at fault when these aren’t achieved.
- The organisation’s structure provides few opportunities for promotion or (sideways) progression.
- Over-formality or informality hinders performance. Familiarity can breed contempt, while having to ‘follow the rules’ can stifle creativity and change.
- Inappropriate people – who don’t have the necessary knowledge, skills or experience – are chosen for key groups, committees and working parties.
Richard Lowe, director of training and digital learning solutions at HR/ L&D consultants, Hewlett Rand, points out, “Other tell-tale signs that all’s not well in an organisation are when intolerance and prejudice strains interpersonal relations, or when empire-building and internal politics obscure organisational performance – demotivating workers.
“However, with some forethought and strategic planning, all these 60 – and more – signs of an unhealthy organisation can be countered successfully.”
About the author
Bob Little is a veteran of the L&D industry and founder of the Elearning Movers and Shakers list.