If you have worked for several companies or organizations, you may have heard the line, “we’re a family here.” Many employers want to achieve this kind of culture in their company.

Most of us spend around a third of our adult life at work. We get to bond with our coworkers and establish relationships with them. According to the American Time Use Survey, people spend around 5.6 to 7.8 hours a day working.

Our relationships with coworkers help us grow our careers as they provide the support we need. Therefore, a family culture at work sounds excellent for those seeking a sense of belonging, caring, and respect.

However, treating your workers as family members is one of the mistakes that many managers and high-performing teams make. This type of workplace culture can be harmful to employees.

Although their intentions can be good, there are some disadvantages to this kind of setup.

clan culture

Photo by fauxels

What is clan culture?

Clan culture is a workplace environment that adapts to a family-like environment by valuing loyalty, commitment, and teamwork. Employees work together as a family and rely on collaboration and mentorship.

This culture intends to create a family feeling by working as a community and prioritizing employees’ needs. It is flexible and doesn’t follow strict procedures and control. 

Some rules still have to be followed but are applied more socially than formally. Employees speak comfortably and freely, and leaders ask for their input.

Advantages When Coworkers Become Family

Here are five reasons companies may adopt a clan culture:

Firm ties

In a clan culture, workers create solid relationships and care for each other. They rely on each other for the support they need. In addition, they feel appreciated and welcome in the company.

Effective teamwork

Employees are allowed to speak and share their opinions comfortably. They gather together like a family at dinnertime to discuss issues that need solutions. 

Their ideas and feedback are welcomed to create the best solution. Therefore, they think and work as a team, making decision-making easier.

Strong loyalty

Clan culture imposes a great sense of loyalty. Employees remain loyal to their coworkers and the company. They’re willing to do everything to defend the company and ensure they succeed.

Many employees stay for a long time because they feel satisfied and secure. They don’t need to look for new positions at other companies.

Feeling of pride

Employees don’t only look for their paychecks from their job; they want something more. In a clan culture, employees are appreciated, and they feel proud as a part of the company. This culture fosters an excellent group identity.

More informal

In a clan culture, employees are allowed to use informal language. Also, they have a relaxed dress code, meaning they can wear casual clothes and anything that makes them feel comfortable.

This provides a relaxed working environment for the employees, which many people prefer.

The Drawbacks of Clan Culture

A family-like work environment may have several advantages. However, it also has some disadvantages. Here are some drawbacks of clan culture:

Lack of diversity

Companies with clan culture can be exclusive, as outsiders are not welcomed in the group. Employees depend a lot on each other and dislike the idea of branching out and including other people. This will lead to a lack of diversity.

New employees who don’t come with ties to existing team members may struggle with feeling included. This may lead to interpersonal conflict.

It may also take longer to find solutions to problems as everyone thinks the same way. Some issues may never even be solved.

Absence of dissent

Employees feel pressured to agree to any ideas during meetings to keep harmony. Unfortunately, this could hinder new ideas and innovation as people will hesitate to disagree with the idea of the group.

In addition, there is a possibility of abuse as employees may be overly loyal to the company and their peers. Employers expect their workers to overperform to get the job done.

Lack of power

There isn’t a clear line of authority in clan culture, which may lead to decision-making issues. Mid-level leaders could struggle to stand up for their judgment on urgent problems.

It could be challenging to impose authority as employees feel they are on the same level as higher-level leaders. Misunderstandings and conflicts may also arise if there is teasing and inappropriate behavior among the employees.

What the Management Can Do Instead

To promote and maintain a balanced culture within the company, here are four strategies that the management can do:

Consider your group as a sports team

You can boost teamwork and trust in your company by considering your group as a sports team. Your employees will feel they belong to the group and have shared values while encouraging a performance-driven culture.

Set clear expectations and pay attention to your goals

Many companies that claim they’re “like a family” place unfair expectations on their team members. Instead, it’s best to have clear expectations and KPIs and treat workers well, without expecting them to dedicate as much to their work as they would to their family.

Consider the individual roles of your members when setting goals for the company. Setting clear and measurable goals drives employees to work and manage their workloads better. Clear expectations help them understand their role, which can boost their performance.

Establish clear limits

Ensure every member knows their working hours and responsibilities. They must set boundaries between their work and personal life. 

Everyone must also be aware of behaviors that are unacceptable in the company. Implementing strong employment policies ensures protection of the business as well as the employee

Accept the “my company is not my family” relationship

The relationship between employees and their employers is impermanent and transactional. 

You should learn to let employees go if they think that the company doesn’t have enough opportunities for them to grow. Recognize their contribution to the company and allow them to look for better opportunities.

Camaraderie is Still Possible

A family-like work environment may help the company to maintain harmony and establish a strong relationship with employees. However, this organizational culture is more harmful than satisfying to the employees and the company. 

Managers should implement a balanced work culture. This practice ensures that employees perform better and the company can achieve its mission and vision.