POSTED: May 10 2019
The 5 signs your workplace culture is toxic

The 5 signs your workplace culture is toxic

If a workplace is toxic, very little else can be done to make a job sustainable. Whilst salary and a clear career path are important elements of stable employment, a recent study by CV Library stated that a massive 48.2% of employees consider having friendly colleagues their top priority, whilst 40% claim that a positive culture is the most important factor in any company.

This relationship between corporate leadership and workers shouldn’t only be a priority to those lower down the ladder; when a corporate culture is damaged, it can have a massive effect on productivity, profitability and – of course – staff turnover. The symbiosis between these two elements of the corporate world is both essential, and shamefully overlooked in many organisations.

However, whilst poor leaders may be left scratching their heads over swift employee turnover and a motivation vacuum, workers are far better placed to see the warning signs that so often accompany toxic culture and make a move before they are too badly affected.

Unmotivated employees

As previously stated, this is a major red light for prospective employees. If a company has a motivation issue, this is usually down to a breakdown in management. Employees with no direction are often apathetic toward their work and show no enthusiasm.

Dissatisfaction and anxiety

As anyone who enjoys their career will tell you, their work is the fuel the get them going each day. Yet the enthusiasm to immerse yourself in a project can only take you so far. If you’re finding that the actions of your management or peers is preventing you from dedication yourself to your work, then this is a big warning sign. If you can’t bring yourself to enter the office, you need to find a new position before the issue becomes more severe.

Fatigue and constant illness 

Workers that are spread too thin will often find that the physical effects of their exhaustion start to eclipse their work life. Presenteeism is a constant threat in toxic workplaces and worrying about the ramifications of your mental and physical health will only make the issue worse.

Staff turnover

Toxic companies will undoubtedly have a significant issue with staff turnover, which has a negative knock-on effect to other workers, due to the constantly shifting levels of knowledge that inevitably comes with a changing workforce. This is because employees that are aware of their value won’t stick around as the company culture gets worse – they’ll identify these signs and jump ship.

Losing clients 

As with employees, clients are top of the list when it comes to identifying issues with their partners. If the quality of work slips, deadlines aren’t met or they find themselves speaking to a different ‘new’ member of staff each time they reach out, there’s a good chance they aren’t going to have faith in the business. Without clients, no business can survive.

Lack of core values

Last, but by no means least – the importance of a core value system is essential to any thriving business. Core values present a shared goal for all workers to head toward, unifying the company and essentially laying out what it plans to achieve. Without core values, a business can have no direction whatsoever.

What can businesses do to ensure a positive company culture?

Whilst company direction needs to come from C-suite, company culture requires leadership to work closely with HR to build its values and set direction. An attentive HR Manager will identify holes in the company culture and move to work with employees to ensure that their wellness is taken into account.

Yet as Lee Biggins, MD of CV Library points out, the facade of a positive culture isn’t a replacement for a truly well-constructed HR policy.

He states: “It’s important that businesses are offering the full package. But this doesn’t just mean fair salaries and workplace perks. A great company culture and a friendly workforce should also be a priority.”



This article was first published online by HR Grapevine. You can see the original article here.