Toxic workplace culture can cost businesses serious money, raising turnover rates and a damaging reputation.
More employees are speaking out about toxic or hostile workplace environments, and the act of ‘outing’ companies has become far more common.
A recent report by BreatheHR revealed that more employees are leaving their jobs at SMEs due to poor workplace culture. This has risen from 21% in 2020 to 27% (nearly one-third) in 2021.
Collecting data and insights, Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR & Talent at Instant Offices discusses why it is crucial than ever for businesses to create an inclusive and empowering workplace environment for their employees.
Biggest Signs of a Toxic Workplace
Here are some tell-tale signs to watch out for in the workplace – these could be symptoms of a deeper problem with the company culture as a whole.
- Constant interpersonal conflicts
- Lack of teamwork and camaraderie
- Pointing fingers and blaming others when something goes wrong
- Poor problem-solving as a team
- Exclusive cliques or social groups
- Office gossip
- Work awarded based on personal connections rather than skill
- Poor communication and lack of clarity around projects
- Inconsistent communication and mixed messages
- Unhappy, demotivated workers
- High turnover rate
- Stifled/ stagnated career progression
- Lack of work-life balance
Jobseekers can research a brand’s track record and get a feel for the type of culture they foster:
- Look at company reviews from present and past employees on reputable platforms like Glassdoor.
- Monitor their turnover rate over a period of several months and see how it compares to the industry average.
- Research how diverse the company is. Find out how many people in senior positions are women or from a BAME background.
- Pay attention to how they communicate with you and with each other.
Keeping Toxicity Out of your Company’s Culture
Even a small pocket of negativity or toxicity can spread far enough to “infect” an entire company. Once a toxic trend is spotted, it’s important to address it as soon as possible, so it can be stopped. The team at Instant Offices provided these tips below:
- Lead by example – behave the way you want to see your employees behave. That includes maintaining a positive attitude, and holding yourself accountable for mistakes the same as you would a subordinate.
- Treat every employee with dignity and respect, regardless of their position or seniority.
- Don’t play favourites, and don’t scapegoat or alienate any employee or group of employees.
- Make sure all management is properly trained on what makes a diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Ensure that all employees are properly trained on what constitutes bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
- Provide training that empowers managers to handle internal conflicts.
- Keep communication channels open for mutual feedback between employees and management.
- Encourage constructive feedback and create an environment where criticism can be shared without fear of “punishment”.
- Make sure your employees know that it’s safe to speak up.
- Recognise and reward your employees’ efforts.
- Promote employees based on skill, not just on likeability.
- Foster an environment of open, constructive communication.