As digital processes are taking over the corporate environment, more employees are finding it easy to work away from toxic workplaces. The remote work option has proven to be an effective solution to working without barriers.
And as more employees begin to prioritize personal growth when choosing where to work, the decision to leave a toxic environment becomes relatively easier.
But to what extent are company executives and HR managers responsible for developing a positive work culture? When employees falter or fail to meet their tasks, what role does the HR manager and the existing work culture play in helping them get back on track?
Toxic workplaces do not only affect an employee’s ability to perform optimally, but over time, it can cause low self-esteem and limit career growth. It’s easy for HR managers and even employees to ignore the adverse effects certain workplace habits can have on employee productivity.
In this article, we’ll talk about common management practices that could cause a workspace to become toxic, how employees can quickly spot and walk away from toxic workplaces and tips on how to maintain a healthy work culture.
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What Does Work Culture Mean?
Work culture basically refers to the predominant mood in your native work environment. The attitudes, beliefs and behaviors employees are allowed to express freely without fear of backlash.
In order to actually achieve healthy work cultures, HR managers and employers need to begin from good hiring practices.
Aligning employee behavior with your company’s policies right from the point of hiring helps to set off on the right foot. While ensuring that the well-being of your employees – as individuals – is treated as a priority.
A healthier work culture makes it easier for employees to build strong interpersonal relationships. Ultimately leading to increased productivity and creating room for growth.
Not to mention a high retention rate, because employees would naturally derive greater job satisfaction in a positive work environment.
How Can You Spot Toxic Workplaces?
Because employees are usually more concerned with ensuring they are eligible for a salary at the end of the month, they endure work environments that are not favorable. The danger in doing this is an increased risk of fatigue and burnout, which ultimately leads to low productivity levels.
There is also the gradual impact a toxic workplace has on an employee’s ability to make future career plans.
Unfortunately, some of these habits are so subtle, most employees aren’t even aware that their workplaces could be toxic. The result is usually a gradual but certain loss of interest – albeit involuntarily.
Good thing is, these signs are easy to spot once you know what to look for. Here are some important traits to look out for that’ll help you analyze the work culture in your workplace.
1. Lack Of Recognition
For a work culture to be considered healthy, it should have a system in place that rewards people when they perform outstandingly or do something exceptional. Form regular verbal praise to pay raises when earned, employees will thrive in an environment that builds a work culture of appreciation and mutual respect.
2. Poor Communication Channels
It is almost impossible to foster a productive workplace environment without a system that encourages open communication. Employees within an organization should be able to give and receive feedback, report, collaborate and express valid opinions freely. If the work culture in your company doesn’t encourage ‘freedom of speech’, interpersonal conflicts would arise quite often and there will be very little – if any – room for growth.
3. No Freedom Of Expression
Closely knit to poor communication is a lack of freedom of expression. When employees are finding it difficult to communicate their views, ideas and feelings regarding the workplace, it limits their level of expression.
Simple activities like being allowed to decorate your workspace to suit your style go a long way to create a relaxed and positive atmosphere. You’ll find that people are generally happier, more productive and focused in spaces that give them freedom of expression.
It’s easy to forget that every position in the company is important – especially when some employees perform much more consistently than others. But when HR managers and employers show favoritism in the workplace, it could cause feelings of distrust and resentment between coworkers. If your workplace tends to give preferential treatment to a set of employees, it could be signs of a toxic work culture.
5. Poor Accountability
If some employees in a workplace are shielded from accountability, it can cause employees to develop a bad disposition towards admitting and learning from mistakes. When employees aren’t accountable for their behavior, it could cause the work environment to become toxic. Lack of accountability will limit teamwork, trustworthiness and eventually cause low employee morale.
Being able to spot these practices will make it easier to point out and correct developing bad habits in your workplace – or walk away when it becomes evidently a deterrent to your growth.
How Do You Build And Maintain A Positive Work Culture?
Perhaps the best thing about any toxic work culture is that – with some consistent effort – it can be improved. However, there are certain practices HR managers and employers must be aware of to build and uphold a positive work culture.
1. Regular Assessment
It’s important for companies to carry out regular assessment exercises during the work year to properly access every employee’s progress. This makes it easier to foster teamwork through effective communication. When everyone knows their role and the significance of their job to the company’s goals, morale and attitude towards work increases.
2. Avoid Workaholism
Many managers and business leaders do not realize how harmful workaholism can be to an organization’s work culture. Yet the fact is a workaholic culture can seriously drain workplace morale and reduce overall productivity. When the boss consistently stays late after working hours and even takes pride in pointing it out, employees might feel pressured to follow suit.
Studies have shown that anything more than 40 hours, worked consistently, isn’t productive at all.
Consistent overtime work hours will result in stressed employees and ultimately weaken their attitude towards producing quality over quantity. Managers should lead by example and begin by cutting back 60 and 70-hour weeks to allow employees to recuperate better.
3. Adopt Good Hiring Practices
It’s a known fact that healthy work cultures thrive on fostering work environments where employees develop strong interpersonal bonds. If HR managers and employers ensure that every new hire is selected based on their alignment with the company’s goals, they can lay a good foundation for a positive work culture.
Adopting good hiring practices makes it easier to hire only best suited individuals. When everyone is on the same page from the onboarding process, it becomes easier to maintain a positive work environment.
If you’re going to compete in the modern business terrain, then your workforce should be as dynamic as possible. It’s easy to prioritize the new deals and numerous clients you’re trying to close over your employees that are keeping the wheel turning.
If this happens, bad practices could creep in, limiting the company’s growth as well as the career development of the employees. Take note of the steps in this article and you’ll be able to reinforce your work environment to suit your growth needs.