6 Signs That You May Have A Toxic Company Culture
Despite always being a popular point of discussion in the corporate world, company culture has taken on even more importance as the modern workplace continues to evolve.
After all, the benefits of a strong and positive company culture are endless.
Healthy and unified workplaces are reflected by increased employee morale, and higher levels of productivity and performance.
On the flipside, negative company cultures create toxic working environments rife with dysfunction and unhealthy conflict.
If you’re unsure whether your company culture needs to improve, here are some red flags to look out for.
If you’re sitting in your office reading this, look around at your colleagues. Or, if you’re about to go on a Zoom (or similar) call, take a look at their body language or listen to the emotion – or lack thereof – in their voices.
Do they all have a face like they’ve just been told their car has failed its MOT? Do they sound like they’re reading names out of a telephone book?
Having poor energy is like a bad habit that most people can’t shake on their own. And, in the workplace, that sort of negativity is more likely than not the result of a poor culture, where a gloomy vibe is accepted instead of challenged.
If unhappiness pervades your workplace, it’s time for positive cultural change.
Unhealthy Fear Of Failure
No-one likes making mistakes, especially at work.
But the best way to figure out if your company’s culture may need a transformation is to think about how mistakes are treated.
Working in fear not only makes people unhappy, but makes them reluctant to leave their comfort zones, hindering the possibility for innovation and development.
Better to create a happy and healthy culture where mistakes (hey, within reason!) are treated as positive lessons everyone can learn from, rather than something that people should be punished for.
As we touched on previously, mistakes are going to happen from time to time, and wires are going to get crossed.
But if this is happening on a day-to-day basis, the chances are your culture isn’t doing so well.
Toxic working environments are breeding grounds for dysfunction and confusion.
Like an episode of Game of Thrones, toxic working environments are rife with lack of trust, little-to-no communication, and never-ending power struggles.
Now, in Westeros those problems often result in wars and extensive award-winning court speeches – but, in the real world, those issues cause projects, meetings and relationships to consistently go off the rails.
High Employee Turnover
This is perhaps the most damning signifier that your company’s culture is off.
If it seems like you’re working on a conveyor belt, where employees seem to come and go on a regular basis, then there is something significantly wrong.
Now, unless everyone around you is getting offered dream jobs elsewhere that they simply can’t say ‘no’ to, chances are the organisation’s poor workplace culture is driving them away.
At the end of the day, people leave their jobs for other ones; it’s the way of the world. But if it feels like more of a perpetual exodus, that is a HUGE red flag for your workplace environment.
Cliques, Exclusion And Gossipy Behaviour
Does it sometimes feel like you’ve travelled back in time to your secondary or high school days?
We all remember what cliques look like: groups of people that stick together, eat together, and laugh at each other’s inside jokes while excluding everyone else.
The existence of such groups in the workplace are extremely counterproductive.
The same applies to gossip.
Office hearsay is going to happen, no matter where you are. But if it feels like you’re starring in the latest episode of Love Island, where open communication is replaced by whispers, side-eye glances and passive aggressive remarks, you’ve got yourself a red flag.
Poor Work-Life Balance
Healthy work environments allow employees to have balance in their lives. In other words, to know they can leave work knowing that they won’t be bombarded with emails and the anxiety they might bring.
You should be able to leave an email to read on a Tuesday, go to the dentist without feeling guilty or call up sick without being paralysed by fear.
People can’t be expected to be on the clock at all times.
The nature of 21st century business means that you might be called upon at unusual and not always hugely convenient times. But if your job demands you to be on call 24/7, with no room for rest and relaxation, your company’s culture is toxic.
The Tools You Need To Improve Your Company Culture
So many organisations suffer from a lack of awareness of workplace problems and the insights that will help solve them.
It’s unrealistic to expect employees to discuss these problems face-to-face at meetings or one-to-ones; and by the time the ubiquitous ‘quarterly employee satisfaction survey’ comes round, it’s often too late.
So how can people feedback their concerns or suggestions for improvement regularly and honestly, without fear of repercussions?
And how can managers and leaders get hold of the kinds of rich insights that will help the organisation develop a successful work culture full of happy, highly productive and high-performing people?
The Tribe365 app is a powerful and intuitive tool which allows employees at all levels to constructively feedback their thoughts and concerns with total honesty and anonymity.
This feedback – in the form of scores, graphs or offloads – in turn gives managers and leaders the analytics they need to understand how to make their teams happier and shape a culture that breeds success.
Interested in learning more about the Tribe365 app, and how it improves workplace culture and company-wide performance?