Stopping A Toxic Work Culture Before it Starts

As employers, it’s our responsibility to remove all obstacles that stand in the way of success for our employees and for our organizations. This, in turn, means that we must have a keen sense of observation to be able to detect those obstacles in the first place. Some might be obvious, others will be far more subtle – and thereby much more harmful to the integrity of our workplaces. If these small, subtle impediments to workplace harmony and productivity are allowed to aggregate, the end result is virtually guaranteed to be a toxic workplace culture that leaves everyone in your team feeling isolated, unmotivated, and generally miserable.

Thankfully, there are some easily-detectable warning signs that your workplace culture is starting to deteriorate. By acknowledging them and acting upon them as soon as they appear, you’ll have a much greater chance of keeping your workplace culture vibrant, healthy, and strong.

Here are a few warning signs of a toxic workplace culture:

  • Cliques are starting to form. Ideally, every workplace should have a feeling of unity and camaraderie. If you notice that separate in-groups are beginning to form, that’s a reliable sign that competing interests are at play.
  • Rates of employee turnover are increasing. Invariably, every organization loses its share of employees to competitors. But if you start to see your turnover rates suddenly increasing, take notice. That could be an indicator that there’s a problem in your workplace that needs to be addressed and resolved.
  • There are consistent problems with communication. For a workplace to function effectively, communication needs to flow freely and efficiently. And before that can happen, there needs to be a pervasive feeling of mutual trust between employees. If you’re starting to notice that deadlines are being missed or projects are being held up due to communication issues, it might be time to introduce exercises and policies aimed at building trust within your team.
  • Your employees look visibly burned out. There are inevitably going to be times when you’ll need to demand a little extra effort from your employees. That said, no employee should ever be forced to work to the breaking point or to have to routinely put their personal life on the back burner for the sake of their career. If you start noticing signs that your employees are burned out, it might be time to loosen the proverbial reins a bit.


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