How to Help Fix a Toxic Work Culture

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Regardless how big your workplace may be, there are going to be people within the organization that bring with them negativity that create a toxic environment.

A toxic workplace is troubling for everyone and can have a detrimental impact on the overall success of that company and your health. The underlying cause of this negative atmosphere is often the result of misaligned expectations, employees that are overworked, and poor recognition within the organization. To help avoid the rest of the employees from feeling uneasy and stressed each time they come to work, these four effective tips on how to fix a toxic workplace should help ease some of the pain.

1. Recognizing Employees on Their Accomplishments

Employees who feel they are continuously overlooked for the great work that they do can add significantly to an unhealthy work environment. They may have been passed over for a well-deserved promotion, or the credit for a job well done could be given to another member of the team. These employees should be recognized for their accomplishments because anger, hostility, and resentment only need a small spark to light a huge fire.

GloboForce and SHRM conducted a survey with a wide variety of companies and discovered a staggering 85% of these businesses saw a definitive positive impact when spending as little as 1% of the payroll on employee recognition. On a psychological level, taking care of the issue before it has the opportunity to get rooted in the nervous system can help to steer clear of contributing to the toxicity in the workplace.

2. Better Align Employee and Management Expectations

One of the reasons for a toxic work environment is employees simply are not keyed in on what is actually expected of them or the expectations are always changing.. . They are called into a performance review feeling they have far exceeded what was expected of them, to walk away from the meeting heads down and feeling defeated for not performing as expected. This is all too common and a contributing factor is the employee simply did not have any reason to believe that their performance was not meeting the standards of management. Employees are unable to take corrective action simply because they were not aware action was needed in the first place.

To create a culture of growth and reward, feedback is needed to help bring everyone on board as to what is expected of them. When expectations are misaligned, employees tend to feel negatively towards management, and that resentment seeps into every conversation and cubicle. Management must clearly define their goals, then reward those employees who perform in line what was the vision of the company.

3. Helping Overworked Employees Perform

In order to get the most out of an employee, many organizations continue to crack the whip until that person is completely drained of drive, dedication and plasma. When hiring employees, they were aware what was expected of them and clearly stepped up to the challenge. These same employees however are given more responsibilities, but still expected to perform the same. Pushing employees to the brink will not get them to work more efficiently, it only leads to resentment at the foundation of the business.

To combat this issue, let the team know that help is on the way (new recruits or new processes) to aid in meeting those expectations. By enabling those who can perform to have needed help, it can create a huge upswing in productivity and eliminate a toxic environment. Bringing in new graduates or interns to take on some of the work load, you give employees more resources and less pressures to happily get the job done.

4. Break Up Favoritism and Unhealthy Cliques

It’s common in every workplace that like-minded individuals will simply gravitate to one another. The problem however is that misery loves company, and toxic employees tend to rally around other toxic employees in force. This can be especially problematic when one group of employees seems to be getting favorable treatment (real or perceived) from management. The bottom line is the rules should be the same for everyone within the organization. To eliminate the toxic workplace, the first thing to do is break up those groups.

Give fun projects to a cross-section of employees that form a new group. Allow each group the chance to take part in fun out of office projects, where they can enjoy time away and get to know other members of the organization better. By improving company morale and keeping toxic employees away from one another, conditions will certainly begin to improve.

Incorporate a few of these tips, and the entire work environment will see a fresh new flow of positive energy. Exposing a light on toxicity at work can help improve relations between employee and management as well as increase the company’s bottom line.

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Keynote Speaker | Mindfulness Maven | Happiness Muse | Author | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate |

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