I resigned from a job because of the toxic work culture. Yes, the salary was great but the job was consuming all my time. You do owe your employer your best work everyday, but you don’t owe your employer your personal life or health.
A toxic work environment results from a failure of leadership starting at the top of the organization and filtering all the way down. You cannot fix a toxic culture with imposing vision and mission statements. It takes more than some catchy phrases to create a great culture. It’s been my experience that toxic work cultures are caused by bad bosses. This is because of their corrosive effects on employee morale and job satisfaction.
The effects of a toxic work culture are far reaching. Just look at Wells Fargo; misdeeds went on for years, in plain light of day, and nothing changed until the problem got too big to be ignored. Yet aftershocks are still taking place.
A toxic workplace will never change as long as management allows bullying, gossiping, unprofessionalism, favoritism and office politics to occur. These behaviors undermine trust and are associated with empire building, rather than people building. People building promotes teamwork. Teamwork is all about collaboration and support for each other.
“There is no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” – Richard Branson
Toxicity is lethal to growth, innovation and creativity. It can also make employees sick. Disengaged employees, high turnover, poor customer relations and lower profits are examples of how the wrong culture can negatively impact the bottom line.
When people leave your organization, find out why. (Exit Interviews) Consequently,when people stay with your organization, find out why (Stay Interviews). It’s important to act on feedback and make the necessary changes. Show employees you are interested in creating a healthy workplace environment.
A strong culture is a common denominator among the most successful companies. The Golden Rule still applies today. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” It’s important that managers focus on relationship building and encourage a family atmosphere at work. Get to know your employees, meet them where they are and be flexible. If you want a great company culture start with implementing kindness, empathy, respect, transparency, accountability, humility, authenticity and integrity in your core values. The best way to show that you truly believe this is to lead by example.