Companies across America spend a fortune on curating and dispatching just the right marketing messages—in fact, last year alone, that number ran to roughly 296.4 billion U.S. dollars. But its interesting to ponder how many of these businesses and organizations pause to think about the messages they send inward. If a well or poorly-chosen tagline can make or break your next big campaign, what sort of cues do you imagine language in the workplace might be serving up to your employees?
The Power of Words
Just like any other element of an organization’s branding, the way that communication flows between many turning inner cogs plays a powerful role in shaping the performance of teams, employee turnover rates, and the perceptions of potential future hires. A strategy for the way that words are used is a vital resource for improving corporate culture and, in all truth, these days companies have to be more careful about language than ever.
That’s because, in a world that sees every word immortalized by technology, poor language choices can travel—reaching not only employees, but also wider audiences, doing untold damage in the process. Meanwhile, larger organizations that drop the ball may be unaware that a festering vernacular has taken hold among middle-management, triggering burnout and turnover that doesn’t leave a paper trail. In many cases, a Corporate Culture Audit becomes the only way that executives can get to the bottom of a hard-to-track unraveling.
These days, great leaders understand that thriving corporate culture is key to driving productivity and delivering soaring profits. While attractive perks and trendy communal spaces might make a business look appealing on paper, a culture driven by aggressive or negative language will inevitably derail efforts in other areas. It’s all about perception: Does language in the workplace make employees feel proud and supported, or stressed and marginalized? In an era that sees 86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad reputation, could language be costing you the very talent that your brand deserves to attract?
Language Changes Everything
On a subconscious level, language impacts the way we feel, the decisions we make, and the goals we pursue. Facebook serves up a fascinating example of the power of a few words strung together. As a company that began subversively and grew to dominate the global social media stage, Facebook has been no stranger to perception crises—but it has adjusted course at various junctures by altering its language.
In 2014, denoting the brand’s maturation away from its rebellious roots, Facebook changed its brand motto from “Move fast and break things,” to “Move fast with stable infrastructure.” In 2021, following heat over Facebook’s failure to police nefarious users, the brand changed it’s mission statement from “Make the world more open and connected,” to “Bringing the world closer together.” It’s interesting to take a moment for introspection, and consider how these shifts change the way we feel about the mega-brand.
Improving Corporate Culture Through Language in the Workplace
Of course, Facebook’s linguistic pivots are public examples—but what about language used behind closed doors? Subtle differences in the makeup of everyday language in the workplace can serve as a pendulum of influence that either provides your teams with fuel, agency, and direction, or robs them of it entirely. The good news is that when language shifts, behavior always follows. The key is identifying the idealogical roadblocks that are being perpetuated through words through a Corporate Culture Audit process. This allows organizations to reveal the tricky-to-pinpoint thorns in their side, and provides a roadmap to correction, including strategising a rich lexicon that motivates and attracts the crucial elements for success.
If improving corporate culture is on your agenda, have no doubt that overlooking the power of language would be a grievous mistake. Private Investigators from Lauth Investigations International are not only versed in uncovering the silos, security risks, and malfeasance that may have taken hold in your workplace, but also analyzing and adjusting the finer points of culture—down to the last sentence. If you’d like to know more about how we can transform language in the workplace into your brand’s superpower, contact our team today.