Five Contributors Of A Toxic Workplace Culture You Need To Know About…

We all know that when you build a great culture, it can be powerful and productive for everyone who is involved with your business.

We know all of the things we should do, right?

Provide flexible workplaces, maybe a couple of beanbags or have great breakout spaces that feel homely, healthy choice opportunities and a place everyone feels valued…Right?

As a business owner we all too commonly strive to build a workplace that people really enjoy coming to work for.

A business owner never sets out to intentionally make staff miserable, but there’s a few blind spots even the greatest leaders can be subject to that can impact on an employee’s happiness at a workplace.

This month we will be focusing our blog series around Changing Toxic Workplace Culture.

Company culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.

So what is a toxic culture?

toxic culture is a workplace that is marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity. Quite similarly, Harder et al. (2014) defines a toxic work environment as an environment that negatively impacts the viability of an organisation.

So how do we know if we have a toxic culture?

We get AWARE and start to look for signs in your team.

Poor performance, team fighting and disharmony will certainly be cues.

This week’s blog is focused on 5 common toxic cultures that come with an array of symptoms that can kill your culture, and your business.

1. The Money Maker Culture

You’re driven, focused and you have your financial targets set in place, and you’ll make sure your staff know about it.

However, the only goal you have is to make money for the business owner, and nothing else.

There is no focus on the overall mission of the business, why you do what you do, and how the product or service you offer actually provides value or helps the customer.

The result is employees feeling like they’re merely a cog in a machine. There’s no emotional opt-in by the staff on your mission.

Symptoms include team members feeling resentful of management/owners (particularly any of their lifestyle choices they make like the car they drive, where they holiday or send their children to school etc). They can also include disengaged employee’s asking for raises (as the focus is purely on money and that is how they feel they’re valued in worth), and staff that don’t work together as a team, but become competitive and disloyal to other team members.

2. The Midnight Oil Burn Culture

Most organisations have got those staff who are able to work incredibly long hours and get things done. Sometimes that is something they do at their election and sometimes this is ‘demanded’ by the business owner.

However the problem lies when this sets the ‘norm’ for others and hours worked become the determinant for success and not output or results. I am not talking about a few hours over the ’38 hours’, I am talking late nights and weekends consistently.

You have this culture if in your business, knocking off at 5pm is seen as a poor effort. It’s almost a game of cat and mouse of who is the last one left in the office at the end of the day.

12 hour days are standard, and god forbid if someone refuses to work a weekend, take work home or respond to an email at 11pm at night.

As a business there are certainly times when additional hours need to happen, but when it becomes the norm within your team and you accept that standard, it’s an unspoken expectation that can backfire tremendously.

Symptoms of this culture can include an increase in sick leave, stress claims, mistakes due to employees who are tired and anxious, and if left untreated, can also result in serious mental health concerns.

3. The “My Way Or The Highway” Culture

You’ve been in business for a few decades now, and you’ve made mistakes that has enabled you to get to where you are now, so you know what’s best.

As a result, you may make all of the key executive decisions, with not too much regard for your staff’s input.

This is quite an old-school style where feedback is not solicited or warranted, ideas are not respected and ultimately the business is living in the past, they don’t really want to take that step forward. Fear is the key driver here.

Certainly that’s not going to keep engaged employees and it’s certainly not going to keep talented employees. Plus, you could be missing out on some really great ideas or opportunities to drive your business forward.  

If you notice you keep losing good staff, ask yourself when was the last time I asked and actually listened and implemented feedback from the team? Or alternatively is fear of losing their job or getting told off the only thing driving people to get things done?

Symptoms include stunted growth, the business “stuck in old ways”, employees expressing frustration that they don’t feel heard or their ideas are not valued, and high performing, once highly engaged staff leaving the business.

These are common mistakes business owners make within their business that can have them running in circles.

To find out the remaining contributors, watch the video below…

Are any of these an issue in your business?

If so, don’t worry – there are steps you can take to begin building an award winning culture your staff love coming to work for every day. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Take the Culture IQ Test – this is a simple, free 10 minute, comprehensive assessment of your business that covers 13 critical areas that make up an organisation’s culture. How do you rate?
  2. From there, you can take the 5 Day Culture Experiment – a quick and immersive 3 step experiment that provides a “quick win” for your business to start a valuable conversation with your staff about creating an award-winning culture.
  3. Start the 90 Day Culture Accelerator – which covers the 4 critical areas of business: DEFINE, ATTRACT, MANAGE & GROW. These areas have the highest yielding impact on your profits, people and productivity.
  4. If you’re looking to learn about end-to-end processes that will set your business up for success, book a spot at our NEW 1-day Culture Accelerator LIVE event on July 12th 2019 at the Lion in North Adelaide.