How to Tell if Your Company Culture is Toxic and How to Change It

5 Times We Said to “Keep Going” Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
December 28, 2021
6 Trade Jobs to Jumpstart Your New Career
February 21, 2022
5 Times We Said to “Keep Going” Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
December 28, 2021
6 Trade Jobs to Jumpstart Your New Career
February 21, 2022

How to Tell if Your Company Culture is Toxic and How to Change It

Is there a problem at your office, but you’re not quite sure where it’s coming from? Something seems out of sorts … Maybe you’ve noticed a high turnover rate recently? Perhaps you’ve noticed employees seem to be confused on who’s doing what? Maybe an uptick in negativity?

Those are just a few flashing-red-signs that your company culture may be toxic. (Ouch!) We know those are hard words to read, but don’t panic because there are steps you can take to change it today!

Learn the Signs

Just one of the items on this list can quickly spiral out of control and turn your company’s culture into a destructive environment. Have 2 or more from the list? It’s time to start making changes ASAP.

  • No enthusiasm from employees
  • Fear of failure
  • Employees who are scared to engage
  • Constant confusion and lack of collaboration
  • No trust between employees and leaders
  • Gossip and drama
  • High turnover and low moral
  • Denial of the problem from leadership
  • Negative interactions in meetings (bickering, eye rolling, blaming)
  • Complaints to HR (either while employed or during the exit interview)

Red Flags in Leadership

We know you’ve invested so many hours, dollars, and resources into your management team, but when looking for toxicity in your company culture – it’s best to start at the top.

Poor leadership is a sure way to decrease employee morale. If you see any of this behavior from your leaders, it’s time to set up a meeting:

  • Gossiping about staff to their peers
  • Showing favoritism
  • Disrespectful attitude to you or others on the executive team
  • Embarrassing employees when they make mistakes
  • Not allowing employees to share ideas or belittling their ideas
  • Dismissive when handling employee concerns
  • Poor communication when there’s changes within the company
  • Lack of confidentiality and professionalism
  • Use of fear tactics or intimidation tactics
  • Focusing only on their career advancement and hogging the spotlight
  • Trying to do everything themselves without delegating

Being a leader isn’t an easy job, and sometimes the best employees don’t always make the best leaders either. When deciding who will lead your organization, consider those who have shown to set good examples in the following ways:

  • listening to concerns
  • participating in reaching goals
  • giving credit where it is due
  • treating everyone with respect

Leaders must also address complaints and enforce company rules openly and fairly. This applies to you, too, if an employee comes forward with a complaint about one of your leaders, address it by the book.

Red Flags in Employees

After evaluating your leadership team, it’s time to look at employee behavior.

You’ve heard the term “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” and it is just as true with bad employees! One toxic employee can negatively impact your entire team. And it goes without saying, but your good employees will always be the ones to quit first! Not the toxic one. Watch for these signs …

  • Forming cliques and gossiping
  • Attempts to engage management in gossip and side-taking
  • Finds drama and issues when there shouldn’t be any
  • Poor communication with peers
  • Stealing ideas
  • Disrespectful to leadership
  • Ridiculing or dismissive of others’ ideas in meetings
  • Aggressive or bullying behavior
  • Constant negativity
  • Unwilling to accept changes
  • Using meeting time to be negative instead of productive
  • Resisting direction and not following direction
  • Consistently late on projects
  • Pushing views and ideas on other employees

Putting an end to this behavior from employees is essential to protecting your productive, positive, hard-working employees.

Short-Term Steps to Change

First, be upfront with your employees. Guaranteed, anything that’s new to you is old news to them. They already know it’s toxic, you can’t hide that fact from them. Be open and honest and tell your employees that you’re on a mission to create an environment that’s positive, safe, productive, and open.

Begin by gathering data from your employees and making sure it’s anonymous so they can be 100% honest! Ask them:

  • What do they like and dislike about the company culture? Ask for specific examples.
  • What do they want to see changed?
  • What ideas do they have moving forward?
  • What would help make their workday better?

The hard part? Reading their answers! You’re going to find out things you don’t like and with that comes knowing that you’re going to have conversations you don’t want to have. It’s not fun! But we promise that admitting there are issues and working to correct them will ensure your company culture ends up where you want it!

Another plus side to all of this is that you’re opening lines of communication between leaders and employees. This is a huge step toward building trust, which is needed to make long-term changes.

Long-Term Steps to Change

Not all employees are a good fit in a company dedicated to a positive company culture. Do not be afraid to set expectations and let go of people who choose not to fit with your business standards. Finding motivated and inspiring leaders and employees is worth the time and effort it takes to seek them out and hire them. It’s important to set goals for your company’s culture, regularly evaluate your progress, and make changes to help you reach them.

To protect your company’s culture going forward, make sure to:

  • Put policies in place to enforce serious violations
  • Document all serious violations, concerns, and meetings
  • Offer leadership training
  • Offer emotional intelligence training
  • Continue sending surveys to employees to monitor the environment

All of these changes will impact the productivity and cohesiveness of your company.

Ready to build a fabulous team?

Start your candidate search today! Consider using our experts at Westphal Staffing to help guide the process. Here at Westphal Staffing, it is part of our culture to make connections, recognize humans as individuals, and collaborate with professionals. Today, more than ever that culture is transforming the staffing experience, making us a different kind of staffing company. Call or text us today at (715) 845-5569!