Think of the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Almost anyone would agree with that statement when it comes to personal health. But how many of us really stop to consider how it applies to the health of our work organization? I’m talking about the culture of your company. I’m talking about the way everyone in your organization interacts with everyone else. And, in turn, the way your organization interacts with the greater world.

If you’ve never stopped to consider the culture of your company, let me help you get started.

First, every organization has a living work culture in place, including yours, whether or not you’re aware of it. Second, the health of this culture typically reflects the leadership of the organization. Third, if leadership is not consciously shaping the culture every day, the health of the work culture will most likely decline with negative consequences.

So why bring up “prevention” in terms of your organization’s culture?

Let’s consider a common issue such as hostile work environments. How proactive is everyone in preventing hostile work environments from developing in your organization? And I do mean everyone, not just leadership. The cost to “cure” a hostile work environment (including Discrimination) is something to strongly consider.


  • 19% of claims result in a defense and settlement payment
  • $125,000 – the average cost of defense and settlement
  • $35,000 – the average insurance deductible paid
  • $200,000 – median judgement of claims that go to court
  • 25% of court cases result in a judgement of $500,000 or more

Of course, the above statistics only deal with financial costs, which are critical to consider. But, it’s also important to be mindful of other costs that don’t have an obvious dollar amount attached.

The Hidden Costs

  • 275 days – average duration of dealing with a claim
  • Potential public exposure – even if the case is dismissed, your company may suffer a loss of public goodwill.
  • Lost productivity of plaintiff and company representatives in dealing with the claim.

Having Hostile Work Environments have been linked to nearly ONE-THIRD of employees deliberately slowing down work or making errors, according to a 2007 study by the University of Florida and Zogby International. ONE-THIRD of employees! There are also strong links to abuse of sick time and other reductions in productivity. More can be said of the costs of replacing employees or managers, but I’ll save those numbers for another blog.

I hope those statistics were alarming. They should be. But I don’t mean to strike fear in you. The point is simply this, “The WAY your company interacts internally and in the world is just as important as what it does.”

Proactively shaping your organization’s culture every day is smart for the bottom line. PICTURE THIS can help. For over 30 years, we’ve worked with companies to identify and prevent unhealthy work environments. We can help raise awareness, foster dialogue and offer applicable skills and solutions that promote positive, healthy organizational cultures for all employees.

I promise the cost of our uniquely effective training is more than worth it. We’ll be happy to work with you to bring real, positive change to the culture of your organization.


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