Take a look at your office and observe the surroundings around. How do your employees interact with each other? Is there any awkward atmosphere when they communicate with their supervisor and manager? Do you happen to hear unpleasant gossips about particular individuals? Keep your eyes open! If you find these signs within your company, you might have a toxic culture.
Either you realise it or not, every organisation has their own culture. What makes culture in company A, different from company B, is that it relies on whether the HR department actively maintains it or just allows toxic culture to seep deeper into the system. Company culture is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have value for every organisation.
Deloitte survey reveals that 94 percent executives and 88 percent employees believe a distinct workplace culture is an important value for business success. Beyond other elements within the organisation, culture possesses the power to shape how the company runs and how employees carry out their responsibilities.
Company culture also plays a crucial role to support HR’s biggest concern: Employee Retention. To run the business effectively, you have to ensure that your workplace culture encourages employees to perform efficiently as well. The problem is, sometimes leaders are too busy taking care of other things that they fail to recognise any subtle wrongdoings within their organisation.
Meanwhile, if these signs of toxic workplace culture is not addressed properly, they pose high danger of killing your employee’s morale and ruining the business bottom line. If you are left wondering why top performers leave your company within short period of time, then perhaps you need to get a bit suspicious and look at your workplace culture closely to understand the tell-tale signs that depict a toxic culture:
Communication is the key to building a solid team that collaborates and works in tandem to meet business goals. Without open and direct communication, misunderstandings are likely to happen and it can ruin your business operation in the longer run. Therefore, encourage your employees to speak up their minds and discuss on ideas to improve your workplace culture.
Toxic culture affects your employees’ physical health, too. Working in stressful and strenuous environment will lower their immunity, which is the reason why they take a lot of sick leaves and you see frequent absenteeism at work.
If you hear your employees sighing instead of cheering up, when you hand over new projects, this could be a sign that they are not motivated in their job or by the workplace culture. Unmotivated employees indicate toxic work culture. When employees do not find enthusiasm in their jobs, it is only a matter of time that they would submit resignation letter.
When you walk passing through a group of employees whispering and pointing out their co-worker, take some time and ask them if something is going wrong. Secretive and non-transparent talks are among the warning signs that tell if something fishy is happening in the workplace.
Biased assessment towards employee A, and demeaning work done by employee B demonstrates that you have inconsistent management. Besides, lack of fairness during evaluation of employees, it indicates to co-workers a sense of favouritism observed by the manager. This is the first step to failure of every successful business operation.
Toxic company culture can exist and proliferate in any kind of business environment, even in small-scale businesses. While working in a place that exudes negativity is the least thing wanted by your employees, if you want to retain talent then it’s time to reconstruct your culture and get rid of any toxicity. As a HR leader, you should watch carefully for these red-flags and take proactive action to protect and create a strong company culture.