Organizations strive towards creating a positive work culture to drive employee engagement levels, essential for business growth and competitive advantage. However, there is a fine line between a driven work environment and a hyper-competitive one with a toxic workplace culture.
Contrary to popular belief, toxic workplace culture is not just about inefficient and unproductive employees within the organization.
Rather it is more about a workplace plagued with infighting, falling productivity, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction among employees.
In most cases, the elements of toxic work culture are right there in the open and thus are easily identifiable.
Many times they remain hidden and require significant effort from the senior leaders to be uncovered.
The most common signs of toxic organizational culture are as follows:
When many employees show little interest in their work or their surroundings, it often indicates growing toxicity at the workplace.
Lack of energy and enthusiasm among employees should be taken quite seriously by the leaders.
Hence, they should focus on finding the reasons for the same and rectifying them at the earliest.
Lack of effective communication between the employees and the management is another major indicator of toxic work culture.
Employees often feel afraid to ask questions to their supervisors and simply choose to follow their instructions.
Hence, this can build their sense of distrust and even make them feel disengaged and undervalued.
The growing discord between employees is also indicative of the fact that not all is well at the workplace.
An increase in misunderstanding between co-workers, the decline in collaboration, and growing distrust and dissent among employees are all red flags.
Hence, organizations need to take notice of them and respond to them at the earliest.
One of the key indicators of a toxic corporate culture is an increase in the turnover of employees.
Most employees prefer to leave their jobs rather than being bogged down by the stressful environment at the workplace.
High-performing and sincere employees tend to stay away from any kind of workplace politics as it affects their performance.
A toxic culture can have drastic consequences for an organization including a dramatic fall in productivity and market goodwill.
Moreover, it can destroy the ethos of the organization and promote undesirable behaviors that will hinder business growth.
Hence, organizations must take the necessary steps to prevent the development of a toxic organizational culture.
The following tips can prove beneficial in this context:
Honest and transparent communication, both vertical and lateral can help prevent the development of a toxic culture.
Hence, sharing timely information about business goals, processes, and policies with employees helps the organization in gaining their trust.
It also allows employees to express their opinions and ideas freely and strengthens their emotional connection with the organization.
Appreciating employees for their efforts and achievements effectively is key to keeping them happy and motivated.
Such employees are less likely to indulge in activities that may disrupt the growth and profitability of the organization.
Hence, a good employee recognition program can ensure that employee contribution toward business success does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Also, an organization needs to provide its employees with fair and ample career growth opportunities across levels.
Hence, organizations need to avoid any kind of bias or favoritism as it can result in brewing dissent within the workforce.
Otherwise, it can lead to a significant drop in employee engagement and cause detachment and emotional disconnect.
Organizations need to ensure that avoid the pitfalls of a toxic work culture that is detrimental to the growth and profitability of the business.
Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked in companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn
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