A toxic workplace culture can place significant barriers in the way of achieving business objectives. If toxicity has invaded your office, it is likely that you are dealing with staff who are unproductive, resentful, unmotivated and perhaps difficult to discipline - and it can affect senior managers to junior employees.
This can have significant effects on all areas of the business, and can even impact your bottom line. We give you tips on how you can start 2019 with a new, improved workplace culture - even if you're already seeing signs of disharmony.
Psychologists and workplace consultants have long analysed the circumstances which cause a business to develop a toxic culture. Obvious signs that your company is affected may include:
Generally, a toxic culture starts with a small number of toxic employees, whose negative influence spreads throughout the office. Although there are no defined criteria for a toxic worker, they may display traits of:
If any of your staff are displaying a number of these behaviours, it would be wise to ensure that Human Resources is aware of, is monitoring the situation and that a strategy to address the behaviour is formulated immediately.
You can deal with a toxic workplace by:
Once you have identified that your workplace culture is toxic, it is time to disrupt the negativity. A cultural or climate survey may assist in pinpointing particular areas of or reasons for malcontent.
One of the most important things to do in this scenario is to be honest with your staff about your assessment of the culture. Indicate that senior management is aware of the issues and is going to take steps to effect changes.
This will likely encourage those staff who are committed to a fresh start, while at the same time causing those who are unwilling to cooperate to either resign or be adequately and reasonably performance managed.
All staff should be involved in these announcements at the same time, ideally in the same room, so that the business develops a new, shared vision and has a joint positive attitude. All executives and senior management should be setting a clear example and be well versed in the proposed new company direction, so that everybody is reading from the same runsheet, and change really is demonstrated to be 'top down'.
Importantly, once an action plan for repairing the toxic culture is developed, it should immediately be implemented, so that enthusiasm and motivation does not wane.
It takes commitment and determination to disrupt a toxic culture. It's best undertaken by moving ahead quickly with a clear course of action and employee buy-in. As employees practise the new rules and behaviours, your culture will become self-reinforcing. If you have allegations that demonstrate a toxic workplace culture, and would like a cultural survey or fact-finding investigation into the circumstances done - contact WISE today!
WISE Workplace is a multidisciplinary organisation specialising in the management of workplace behaviour. We investigate matters of corporate and professional misconduct, resolve conflict through mediation and provide consultation services for developing effective people governance.
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