“People don’t leave jobs, they leave toxic work cultures.” – Dr. Amrita Aitsi-Selmi, MD, PhD, author of the Success Trap

What are your organization’s cultural attitudes? Having unhealthy or dysfunctional attitudes can interfere significantly with successful strategy implementation. A company’s culture is defined as the shared values, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. It’s the personality of your company, and it lays the foundation for employees overall satisfaction. When we think of companies who’ve expressed their workplace exhibits a toxic culture, here’s what stands out, and some may surprise you.

  • Lack of transparency and communication: Leaders who keep information to themselves and do not communicate openly with employees can create a culture of distrust and disengagement.
  • Micromanagement: Excessive monitoring and control over employees’ work can lead to feeling unvalued and disempowered.
  • Blame culture: Companies that focus on finding fault rather than finding solutions to problems can create an environment of fear and resentment.
  • Unreasonable expectations: Demanding unrealistic deadlines, excessive overtime, and an unhealthy work-life balance can lead to burnout and high turnover rates.
  • Discrimination and harassment: Any form of discrimination or harassment, such as racism, sexism, or ageism, creates a hostile work environment and can negatively impact employee morale and productivity.
  • Lack of recognition and appreciation: Companies that fail to acknowledge and reward employee contributions can result in low morale and motivation.
  • Rigid hierarchy: Companies with rigid power structures and limited opportunities for growth and advancement can lead to a stifling work environment.
  • Resistance to change: Companies that resist change and new ideas can stagnate and fall behind in their industry.

As a leader, provide your team with an understanding of the company’s current and ideal states. To maintain a resilient attitude, you need your employees to engage and be productive. But how do you do that? Here are some ideas to lean into for a healthy workplace.

  • Lead by example: Demonstrate the values and behaviours you expect from employees, such as honesty, transparency, and respect. Exhibit the values daily.
  • Encourage open communication: Foster an environment of open and honest communication by actively listening to employee feedback and addressing concerns in a timely manner.
  • Foster diversity and inclusiveness: It’s important to create a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusiveness by promoting equal opportunities, combating discrimination and harassment, and establishing a welcoming and supportive environment for all employees.
  • Recognize and reward positive contributions: Acknowledge and reward employees for their hard work and positive contributions to the company. Real recognition not only means personal attention but an acknowledgement of their peers that positive behaviour leads to individual and corporate-wide success. Other employees can then see how the behaviour aligns with the company’s vision and mission, and they will be more likely to follow suit.
  • Promote work-life balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by setting reasonable expectations, allowing flexible schedules, and promoting self-care. Remember, this is also lead by example, if leaders tend to work overtime employees feel like that is also their expectation. Establish the balance.
  • Provide opportunities for growth and development: Provide employees with opportunities to develop their skills and grow. Encourage those seeking new opportunities and allow them the time and resources to learn from others and grow within the company.
  • Encourage teamwork and collaboration: Whether it be peer to peer or mentorship, create a culture of teamwork and collaboration by promoting cooperation, recognizing the varied perspectives and contributions of all employees, and fostering a positive team dynamic.
  • Address negative behaviour: Shut down negative behaviour in a fair and timely manner and work with employees to find solutions to challenges.

By taking these steps, leaders can lay the culture groundwork that supports employee well-being and engagement and drives business success. However, employees also have an essential role in changing negative attitudes and dysfunction in the workplace. Here are some specific actions they can take:

  • Be an example: Demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviours and encourage others to do the same.
  • Speak up: Address any negative behaviour or attitudes. Remember to read the room to respectfully have the conversations privately, or in a team setting. Avoid shaming, blaming, or singling out.
  • Foster open communication: Encouraging open and honest communication can help resolve conflicts and prevent negative attitudes from spreading.
  • Promote positivity: Look, listen, and be open to the excellent things happening in the workplace and recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of coworkers. Address the positive outcomes directly as well as to management when it warrants.
  • Be a team player: If you’ve ever been on a sport or social team you know that collaboration is key to success. Instead of complaining or blaming others, work together to find solutions to problems and improve the work environment.
  • Be proactive: As your leaders encourage open communication, be willing to make suggestions and take the initiative to find ways to improve the workplace climate and work with management to implement goals and changes.
  • Seek professional development: When the opportunity presents itself…go for it. Look for encouragement to develop skills and gain a deeper understanding of the work, which can help build a positive attitude.

Together employees and leaders can increase productivity, job satisfaction, and overall morale by working together to create a positive and supportive work environment as it can significantly impact their own well-being and that of the company.

~Cherene Kambeitz, Marketing & Communications Director – Levvel inc. Reach out to Connect@levvel.ca