A toxic work culture isn’t just bad for employee’s job satisfaction and the company, it’s also bad for physical health. According to research by Stanford University, complications related to work stress are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
While most people intuitively understand that a toxic workplace isn’t good, it’s studies like the one above that should make company leaders sit up and take notice. If you’re in a leadership position at your company and want to pay attention to signs of a toxic culture, consider the following red flags.
Employees don’t feel comfortable speaking their mind
If you and your fellow leaders don’t hear pushback on ideas, especially from those lower on the totem pole, it may be because employees feel they would be quickly shut down, or even punished for speaking their mind. This is a toxic situation companies need to avoid.
Getting employee ideas and feedback not only keeps up morale, it also helps with buy-in on new ideas. People tend to buy into an idea more readily if they feel like they’ve had a chance to weigh in on it.
Only a certain type gets promoted
Companies should always promote the most qualified people. They ought to also be deliberate about what criteria is used for promotions and ensure leadership is sticking to them without bias.
Employees notice when someone gets promoted, and they will talk amongst themselves about whether someone deserved it. Whenever the answer is no, that promotion is helping to make the culture toxic.
Only self-promoters get noticed
Truth be told, it is a bit naïve to think that you can get ahead in any company by keeping your mouth shut and working hard. Your work colleagues have their own career success to worry about and it isn’t up to the people around you to promote your achievements.
However, company leaders need to be vigilant about publicly acknowledging employees who quietly do a very good job. They also need to let shameless self-promoters know that working, not talking, will be rewarded.
Risk taking isn’t being rewarded
Most companies talk a big game about wanting their employees to take risks and experiment with more efficient ways of doing their job. However, all that talk is meaningless if successful risks are properly rewarded and failed risks are harshly punished.
As a leader, you must establish what a good risk looks like, if a risk needs to be approved and any consequences for a failed risk. It’s also important to acknowledge and reward when a risk pays off.
Stop pointless complaining and talking
Sometimes, meetings devolve into constant complaining and pointless anecdotes. If you let the loudest voices dominate the room, it sends the signal that talk is rewarded, not useful contributions.
Encourage people to speak up when they have something constructive to say, and to be quiet when they don’t.
At Nationwide Temporaries, we help company leaders achieve their goals by providing them with custom service and talent acquisition solutions. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.