We spend the majority of our time in our place of work, surrounded by colleagues. It’s a place where we earn, but also where we learn and socialise every day.
For employers, avoiding toxic workplace culture attracts talent and improves retention in employees, with research showing that it is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to an employee quitting. Recognising toxic workplace culture and understanding how to address it is crucial for every organisation.
Here we’ll look investigate what toxic culture is and what can be done to avoid it.
What is toxic culture in the workplace?
A toxic workplace culture refers to harmful behaviours that can create a hostile environment for employees, resulting in negative work-related outcomes. Here are some examples of toxic behaviours that breed this culture.
One of the ways in which toxic workplace culture can manifest itself is through bullying and harassment. This persistent behaviour can create a hostile work environment for the whole team and wear down the individual’s self-esteem and confidence.
Another concern is discriminating employees based on race, gender, age or any other factor. This can be isolating and foster a toxic sense of inequality in the workplace. Micromanagement is another toxic characteristic, which can be displayed through overly controlling behaviour from an authority figure. Micromanaging can have detrimental effects on employees’ autonomy and lead to demotivation.
Poor communication, such as unclear instructions, can create confusion and anxiety amongst employees. As well as this, a lack of recognition for employees’ achievements and efforts can lead to a sense of undervaluation, and subsequently demotivation amongst the workforce.
Addressing these issues is vital in encouraging a healthier, productive workplace environment.
How can employers avoid toxic workplace culture?
Firstly, open communication can promote transparency, where employees feel empowered to openly express their concerns without fear of repercussions. Behaviour demonstrated by leadership also sets the tone for everyone around them, meaning this should be implemented from the top down.
Encouraging a healthy work-life balance is crucial, and can manifest through encouraging time off, discouraging overtime and offering hybrid working options. This balance reduces stress, contributing to the overall success of an organisation. Importantly, embracing diversity and inclusivity are vital in creating an environment where alternative perspectives and ideas are welcomed so that innovation and creativity can thrive.
By focusing on a workplace culture that breeds support, communication and inclusivity can create a better work environment for employees to feel valued, respected and avoid the pitfalls of toxic workplace culture.
If you’re looking for further advice on how to grow your business, Chamber of Business is full of expert tips and advice.