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Why great employees leave great cultures

Nowadays, corporate culture is one of the strongest motivators to drive productivity, employee happiness and retention and general prestige of a company. Think about Google -  everybody wants to work there because we’ve all heard how great their culture is. At the same time, we see examples of people leaving their “great cultures”. Why does that happen and how can we prevent this?

The age-old proverb “practice what you preach” comes to mind when studying this phenomenon. Behaviors, systems, and practices aligned with a company’s values form a culture. When we observe dissonance between values, what is postulated and what is actually done, then a great culture begins to crumble. For example, a company can promote an image of having an excellent work-life balance but at the same time expect people to work extra hours every other night. These inconsistencies can crop up anywhere in a company and when there is enough of them the dissonance becomes too much to bear.

In our opinion, the best way to prevent this from happening, is to, first, realize that there is an issue. Constant monitoring, reflecting on and steering corporate culture is necessary to keep behavior and incentives aligned with corporate values and create a sense of belonging for employees. Don’t just say “our culture is great”, make sure it is.