Can the fall of company culture be blamed on employees?

Posted by Amanda Nieweler

on September 13, 2016

Can the fall of company culture be blamed on employees?When your company culture is attacked, it’s easy to lay blame elsewhere

Seemingly, this is how an article is being perceived, where the Wells Fargo CEO is defending the bank’s culture, and pointing  fingers at ‘bad employees’.

Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses.

These actions were undoubtedly fueled by the policies and benefits used to motivate employees.

These very policies and benefits most certainly passed the desks of senior management before being put into action.

The question is, was there any plan of attack to follow up on these policies and processes to learn how they are being interpreted, how they affect the employees work culture. Are there any changes that need to be made that weren’t known before the original roll out?

The CEO of Wells Fargo is quoted as saying “there was no incentive to do bad things.”

This very well may be how the plan was understood by senior management at the start, and how processes and policies were written out.

The question is, did employees perceive these policies and processes the same way?

Senior management gave the orders. Employees received the orders. Somewhere, something didn’t quite mesh together.

And over 5000 employees apparently got the same message… do what needs to be done so we can keep our jobs and receive our bonuses.

What people are taking issue with is the fact that senior management is not taking any responsibility for how the company conducted its business.

Another member of senior management stated that “the bank’s issues stemmed from people trying to meet minimum goals to hang onto their jobs.”

This statement alone is a red flag. Employees shouldn’t be forced to meet minimum goals to hang onto jobs. They’re already trying to make ends meet, with the increase in housing, and general affordability, etc.

If employees have that kind stress hanging over their heads, it’s very easy to turn to bending the rules in order to remain safe.

This is why it’s so important to keep revisiting policies and processes to find out how they are playing out in the trenches.

How have they been interpreted?

What needs to change?

Another question on most people’s minds is how can management possibly not know that over 5000 employees were engaged in this scheme?

Were there internal controls in place to spot any red flags?

Did anybody know this was happening who could blow the whistle on it?

A company doesn’t just hire 5300 bad employees. If  this is the case, then the hiring practices need a serious overhaul.

5300 ‘bad employees’ aren’t just hired. They are slowly nurtured over time. They take cues from upper management.

They follow examples.

They learn ‘how things are done’.

They adapt to the culture that is being lead by upper management.

Was there a whistleblower culture in place?

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