Culture. It’s a small word, but it packs a mighty punch. The preverbal shiny penny of the business world, there’s no shortage of blog posts about why culture is essential or ways to improve your organization’s culture. Those are important topics, so it’s not surprising how many resources are available to organizations looking to implement or improve their culture. But once you’ve established the culture that best suits your organization, then what? 

This may come as a shock, but much like financials and performance, your company’s culture will ebb and flow. The culture within your organization is impacted every single day, sometimes by factors and decisions inside your company and sometimes by external factors outside of your control. Given how large a role culture plays in the ultimate progress, success, or struggles your organization overcomes, it’s no wonder the mere idea of culture being ever-changing can send executives into a tailspin. As leaders though, it’s our job to be prepared for the inevitable inflection points your business will encounter, so here are three ways to spot the warning signs your culture might be declining. 

Feedback & Transparency

If you’ve established a healthy culture at your organization, then you are no stranger to transparency and neither are your teammates. Open and honest communication is a vital component of every healthy relationship, and the employer/employee relationship is no exception. Actively listen to what your teammates are telling you because there is no better clue to the current state of your culture than what your people tell you. 

Whether you collect their feedback through surveys, host town hall meetings, conduct open forums, or even analyze exit surveys – solicit teammates’ feedback regularly and truly listen to what they have to say. If the culture within your organization is going through a rough spot, your teammates will likely know and feel it long before you, so use their willingness to be honest and vulnerable to help nip the culture decline in the bud. 


Data provides a wealth of knowledge for anyone willing to dig through and analyze it.  One of the first ways we use data to pinpoint a decline in our culture is by tracking our employee engagement. As I’m sure you know, happiness and teammate engagement are essential components of the culture within your organization. By tracking engagement over time, we can identify specific instances when we are veering off track.

Over the years, we’ve also noticed that in times when our production takes a dip, culture also starts to decline. Though startling, productivity and employee engagement are intrinsically linked, so it’s not entirely surprising to see this firsthand in our numbers.

Finally, and forgive me for stating the obvious, but culture and turnover are interconnected, so taking a peek into your retention and turnover data can also clue you into the current state of your culture.

External Factors

I touched on this already, but many elements outside your direct purview can and will impact your culture. Many times, leaders are abundantly aware of these external factors, as they typically impact other areas of the business as well. 

The current economic climate, political, and legal factors all heavily impact your company’s culture. As I said, leaders are usually already aware of these influences but expect and prepare for these implications to be more widespread and funnel into engagement and culture as well.   

Culture, though ever-evolving and challenging, can move mountains within your organization if managed correctly. At Medix, our culture was a determining factor in our ability to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Culture can also be a determining factor, not only in your ability to hire top talent, but retain high performers in the long run. As I said earlier, there’s a plethora of resources about the importance of emphasizing culture, but if you want to read more about the tangible outcomes of having an amazing culture within your organization, I share Medix’s story in my recent book, Culture through Crisis. Once you’ve established your organization’s culture, refer back to these three bullet points to help you spot the warning signs your culture could be declining. 

Have additional tips you want to share with other leaders? Comment below!