Toxic Workplace

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Health Assured team

20 May 2022

Too often, employees encounter toxic behaviour in the workplace.

This type of negative conduct can come from both employees and the business itself. But they all can lead to an array of problems, from employee dissatisfaction to disruptive cultures.

As an employer, you must create a positive and healthy work environment. Failing this, you could face anything from broken rapports to discrimination claims.

In this guide, we’ll look at what a toxic workplace is, what the causes are, and how to eliminate it from your business.

What is a toxic workplace?

A toxic workplace is a place which portrays a negative and hostile environment.

Toxic workplace cultures can derive from one person or groups of employees. From poor management to blame cultures–there are several reasons for how they form.

However, the root causes aren’t always easy to spot. And once you have, it’s often too late. Your staff and workplace have slipped into toxic territory which can be hard to recover from.

As an employer, you have a legal duty to provide a healthy and safe workplace. And this doesn’t just relate to its physical state–the cultural environment must reflect this too. If not, your employees could face mental and physical harm.

What are the consequences of a toxic workplace?

There are so many consequences which derive from toxicity at work. And a majority of the time, employees suffer the most. Here are some common consequences of a toxic workplace:

  • Causes burnout: Exhaustion from lengthy periods of stress (physically and mentally). 
  • Poor life satisfaction: Decrease in the quality of work conditions and practices.
  • Damages wellbeing: Disrupts personal and professional wellbeing. (Self-esteem and confidence particularly take a knock). 

What are the signs of a toxic workplace?

It’s so important to look out for the signs of a toxic workplace. For example: 

High absence rates

Toxic work environments breed poor mental and physical health. This leads to higher sick leave and absence rates.

Low morale levels

Morale and engagement are such important indicators to regulate a workplace environment. Take a look at your workforce and establish whether they are happy and content. Generally, you can gauge workplace satisfaction levels in a few quick conversations with employees. 

Communication problems

In toxic workplaces, communication is either low or negative. Employees might misunderstand what their responsibilities or goals are. In some cases, colleagues might suffer an absence of communication. Negative communication, like gossiping and bullying, are too often found in these places.

How to eliminate toxic workplace cultures 

As an employer, you need to think hard about how to get rid of toxic employees and work cultures. But identifying toxic employees or areas isn’t easy. Real change will take time and conscious effort.

Here are ways to eliminate toxicity in the workplace:

Revisit company values 

You can create a positive workplace culture by revisiting your company values. Think about which values are important to you and your company.

Remind everyone of your missions, objectives, and aspirations–and try to redirect current work cultures towards your set values.

Implement individual goals 

When employee roles are unclear, it’s difficult for expectations to be met. With no direction, you cannot measure success and failure.

When employees are unsure of expectations, it can lead to disorganisation, confusion, and a lack of consistency.

But when you have clear routines and support, employees feel fulfilled within their role. This grows confidence and engagement; pushing a strive towards work completion.

Focus on employee health and wellbeing 

In toxic workplaces, physical and mental wellbeing is too often ignored.

Employees here are overworked, undervalued, and disregarded. And work conditions often reach their limits or are simply insufficient.

When you forget to put your employees first, the whole business is affected. Absences increase, as well as turnover. And production is either unacceptable or non-existent.

You need to focus on employee health and wellbeing–putting them first. Provide the means for physical, mental, and wellbeing support. This is easily accomplished through classes, counselling, and even work adjustments.

Improve communication 

Bad communication is one of the most common factors found in toxic workplaces.

That’s why you should ensure employees receive regular communication. And this should be included on both a professional and personal scale.

Some of the easiest ways to improve communication is through feedback procedures and regular discussions. You can even provide a monthly newsletter, company-wide meetings, and even virtual socials.

Any of these can improve direction, engagement, and productivity. Your staff will feel more secure, comfortable, and valued whilst working in a friendlier workplace.

Learn how to manage a toxic workplace with Health Assured

Health Assured offers the UK and ROI’s leading Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The programme provides mental health support to your employees 24/7.

Our counsellors are on hand to provide employees with a listening ear and proactive help with work-related and personal problems.

Managers might have difficulties dealing with toxic employees, and eliminating bad behaviour can be challenging. Our manager support helpline provides guidance to managers so they can overcome challenging employment issues.

Get in touch with one of our workplace wellbeing experts today. And see how we can help you improve workplace culture for the better. Call us on 0800 206 2550.

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