The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled Facebook’s Company Town, which deals with the concept of company culture. In it, WSJ describes Facebook’s efforts to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community that’s close to its offices. Such a complex literally includes every amenity imaginable—from a sports bar to a pet day care. The article poses a definite concern for company culture expert Flett Consulting, as well as every concerned business growth strategist.
To them, it conjured images of the 20th Century’s “company towns,” wherein the employers provide their staff with housing, health care, and even localised law enforcement. It somehow felt like companies nowadays are going too deep, that they’re actually intruding in their employees’ lives already.
When Companies Seem to Fail to Care
It’s not only Facebook that’s becoming the subject of debate, it seems. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, recently took the headlines after a New York Times article put the company’s seemingly extreme culture into the spotlight.
The article makes it known that Amazon’s culture seems to be focused on getting the most out of their staff, with little to no concern about the people’s well-being. This is probably due in part to CEO Jeff Bezos’ so-called “14 rules” that drive the aforementioned point home. Over 300 former and current Amazon employees shared stories of what they believe is a “toxic” workplace culture that somehow forces them to make sure “that their focus stayed on their jobs.”
Bosses: The Pitfalls Of Being “Too Nice”
Bosses and leaders: the biggest leadership trope in organisations. People often eschew the boss and love the leader. The former orders you around and expects results, while the latter shows you how it’s done and then sets expectations. But sometimes, it seems like company top brass goes too far on the niceties.
Most people believe that company culture begins and ends with the top official/s, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But, herein lies the rub: when a top official becomes “too nice,” employees begin to relax too much. Deadlines might be missed due to being too democratic and “understanding,” and at times, bosses even get to be on the receiving end of the punchline from overly comfortable employees. What the latter means is that the boss gets much less respect than what is due, which could bode ill for the business.
The bottom line is, companies should learn to limit their decisions. There’s a fine line between looking out for employees and actively trying to control their lives, all for the sake of organisational success. Sooner or later, they stand to lose what they can’t afford to let go: people.