The 4 Signs of Bad Startup Culture

What is the Startup Culture?

Startup culture is characterized by a flat hierarchy, open communication, and creative problem-solving.


The identity of the organization, including its mission statement, goods, and customer service, usually informs basic principles in corporate culture. These basic beliefs tend to represent the personalities and attitudes of the people who worked for the company in its early days in startup cultures. Because young organizations must adjust fast to internal and external business challenges in order to thrive, a startup culture emphasizes business agility and flexibility.

Related: Why Workforce Planning is so important for a company?

The principles that startup cultures promote are increasingly resonating with executives at established corporations. Large organizations are discovering that putting more emphasis on startup culture ideals, particularly the value of the individual, could help them immensely as the pace of business quickens, aided in part by technological improvements. Kaizen is a term used in several industries to describe the benefits of adopting a startup culture.

Signs of a Bad Startup Culture

Workplace culture has the power to make or destroy our overall happiness in life. It governs your company's conduct, attitudes, beliefs, communication, decision-making, and social relationships.

It has the capacity to affect your company's bottom line, whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in between.

Startup culture can be bad due to the high-pressure nature of the workplace. Products and services are hurried to market, cash is scarce, and you're always on the lookout for the next big thing. Competition from larger organizations can be fierce, and a lack of organizational structure can make things difficult at times.

Here are some indicators of bad startup culture:

1. You're surrounded by folks who say "yes."

Do you recall the ancient fairy tale "The Emporer's New Clothes"? That's exactly what we think whenever we come across a leader surrounded by people who just say yes to them.

Yes, It's linked to productivity, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude. It should be a positive and upbeat phrase. However, your culture may be bad if people simply say yes to a leader because they are too passive or afraid to speak up.

A society that discourages people from speaking up, for whatever reason, will eventually fail. Innovative collaboration is impossible without a range of viewpoints.

We are just as rich as the sum of our people's diverse personalities, viewpoints, ideas, experiences, and creativity. If everyone isn't sharing their distinct points of view because the emperor can't hear no, you're going to miss out on a lot like a business.

Related: How to Improve the Candidate Engagement?

2. Job descriptions are ambiguous, and no one knows what they're in charge of.

We understand. In addition to their specialized jobs, startups require a collective team spirit effort in which all hands are on deck and everyone takes on a sort of generalist duty to get things done.

When employees don't know what's expected of them or how their efforts will be judged when it's time for quarterly reviews, it becomes bad. As a result, your company may come seen as unorganized and distracted.

Some firms attempt to delegate the task of creating positions by allowing new employees to explain their daily activities and select a label on their own.

Whilst a person asks you, "what job profile do you want?" in my experience, you should say, "What job title do you want?" It's not because you're a jack-of-all-trades who can accomplish anything. The reason for this is that the corporation lacks the maturity and organization to establish the responsibilities and titles on its own.

It's difficult for people to live up to their potential and show you why you hired them in the first place when roles and responsibilities aren't adequately created, outlined, and conveyed.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Client Relationships

3. Everyone is always working overtime

One of the disadvantages of working at a startup is that the barriers between business and personal life are blurred. It's gotten so ubiquitous in the startup environment that it's now considered the norm. The conventional 9–5 and home-by-dinner mindset has been supplanted with long hours.

While there is a lot of groundwork to be covered when starting a company from the bottom up, asking workers to prioritize work above their personal life is a surefire way to cause occupational burnout.

People look up to their leaders for guidance. If you're the first one in and the last one out (far past a fair stamp-out time), your employees will feel compelled to follow suit. They'll be upset because of this.

4. Failure is frowned upon and punished.

A prior boss threatened to break my neck over a photo editing error I made. It was my second week on the job and my first time trying alone. That organization's toxicity has stayed with me.

On the other hand, I'll never forget the first week at a new job, when my new boss stared me down and said, "I expect you to fail, over and over again in the coming months."

My knees shook at the prospect of failing in my new profession. It was liberating, however, to be told it was to be anticipated. This was a long cry from my previous failures, which had made me a target for ridicule and punishment.

Failure leads to innovation, resilience, better decision-making, and humility, therefore brushing yourself off and getting back up to try again is admirable.

Furthermore, developing a culture that discourages failure can result in you losing employees who will never grit their teeth and give it they are all.

Related: Challenges to setting up an HR Department in a start-up


Drama and fighting aren't usually present in bad communities. The majority of the time, it means that there are very real aspects within a culture that are actively damaging, or have the potential to harm productivity and profitability. Bad environments, moreover, have the ability to negatively impact the health of both leaders and employees.

Whatever is affecting the culture of your startup, remember that there is no such thing as a culture that cannot be fixed or salvaged. What you need to do is make a conscious effort to do so.

For Human ResourcePayroll and many more HR Services, visit our website

Leave a Reply