A toxic culture, you read articles about it all the time, or when you see acts of grossly unacceptable behaviour in big organisations like Channel 7 and the banking industry you hear the term bandied around, but what does it all mean? And how do you know if your workplace has a toxic culture?
Well, culture is the underlying factor that drives your business, its a set of unwritten rules that tells employees what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t. Organisations with a strong and healthy culture are easily identified by their happy & positive employees, low turnover, a communication structure that flows up and down and clients that WANT to do business with the organisation as they themselves can see the strong sense of integrity that management and employees alike display.
So how to identify poor or toxic culture? Disgruntled, unengaged and generally unhappy employees, high rates of absenteeism, arriving late; knocking off early, lack of care factor towards their work, poor communication, high turnover with most employees leaving in their first 12 months of employment, rampant bullying left unchecked by management, and the killer to business; reputational damage turning away clients and prospective employees alike.
Quite often poor behaviour is left unchecked for 2 reasons: the Manager chooses to enable the behaviour as they want to avoid the conflict of having “that chat”, or, the Manager chooses to enable the behaviour because the employee is a member of a work unit that generates income for the organisation, believing they can’t afford to lose a member of that team they let the behaviour slide. Ultimately though, its false economy because what eventually happes is all the good employees who can do better leave, the company can’t attract good employees because of their reputation, and they are left to struggle on with the wrong people in place and questioning why they have found themselves in this position.