Career Advice

How to Tell If Your Company Culture Is 'Going to the Dogs'

The phrase, ‘going to the dogs’ often carries a negative connotation. However, Glassdoor recently compiled a list of 10 companies whose employee perks include dogs in the workplace, and in this instance, ‘going to the dogs’ is a very good thing!

While not everyone would agree that permission to bring a four-legged friend to the workplace is a perk, many pet owners and pet lovers would jump at the opportunity to bring their pet to the office or to be surrounded by others’ pets in the workplace.

Having a dog nearby can provide relaxation and add to feelings of joy and levity. For many, the simple act of petting a dog is calming; playing with a happy canine can be therapeutic; and the mindless task of tending to a pet’s needs throughout the day can declutter one’s mind and even unleash dormant creative thinking.

However, because many companies’ leaders are not as sensitive as the ones on Glassdoor’s list, their culture may be prone to waning productivity and declining retention.

To help you separate the wheat from the chaff in regard to culturally aware companies, you may want to consider the following signs before hiring on. While some of these points—independently—appear small, bear in mind they can be symptomatic of larger cultural frailties.

1.They don’t acknowledge special occasions. For example, it is common knowledge at most companies when someone has a birthday. In fact, human resources should have that information on hand. Beyond that, someone at the office likely will wish them a happy birthday – several others will randomly, throughout the day, bestow birthday wishes. Therefore, if an employee’s immediate supervisor or boss fails to acknowledge a simple ‘happy birthday’ greeting, this could be a signal that they really don’t care that much about nurturing their employees.

2. They don’t ever share credit or say, ‘thank you.’ For example, when a sales professional closes a high-level sale, does the boss automatically steal acclaim, crediting himself (or the company’s reputation), and dismissing the sales person as simply an order taker?

3. They rarely, if ever, acknowledge an employee’s personal life. If they never bother to ask how an employee’s spouse, sister, brother, mom, dad, child is doing, then they probably are lacking in compassionate leadership skills.

4. They don’t see past their own personality traits. In other words, just because the boss is quiet-natured and doesn’t seek out praise or desire celebratory work moments, doesn’t mean others who work for him are similarly wired. For some employees, ringing a bell at the close of a sale is meaningful and necessary in order to stoke their energy for landing the next big deal. If the company leadership is a stick-in-the-mud grump only focused on the next sale and never appreciative of an employee’s last win, you might want to reconsider working there.

5. They don’t offer time off for working overtime. Working 24/7 or 7-days/week is taxing. Sometimes, during trade shows, special projects or particularly busy seasons, employees may be expected to work grueling hours. If your future boss has a reputation for working their employees ‘like a dog’ but never offering compensation time to regroup and relax, then this might be a telltale sign of an unhealthy culture.