A toxic work environment cannot be created, unless, it’s tolerated by the company’s leaders and is allowed to continue.
In addition to recruiting, retaining talent, managing business management software, and mirage of other duties, HR also has to be vigilant and look for instances of hostile leadership styles, retaliation and bullying in the workplace. When a toxic environment is left unchecked, it can lead to employee stress (physical and mental), and high turnover. And, the era of social media, word will spread fast, about the working conditions of a particular company who allow toxic people to remain, while wreaking havoc on the rest of the team.
Not sure if you are working in a toxic environment? In his article, 7 Sure Signs Your Workplace Is Toxic, Marcel Schwantes lays out the signals one should look for. They are as follows:
“1. All sticks and no carrots-Management focuses solely on what employees are doing wrong or correcting problems, and rarely give positive feedback for what is going right. Or mostly carrots for the best performers, sticks for the rest.
2. The creeping bureaucracy-There are too many levels of approval and management to get things done and a singular focus on micromanaging employees.
3. The gigantic bottom line-Profits, beating the competition, and cost cutting are solely focused on without consideration of other bottom lines.
4. Bullies rule the roost-Management bullies employees, or tolerates bullying when it occurs among employees.
5. Loss of the human touch-People are considered to be objects or expenses rather than assets, and there is little concern for their happiness or well-being. There’s also little evidence of leaders’ compassion and empathy for employees. As a result, you’ll encounter high levels of stress, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout.
6. Internal Competition-Employees must compete internally, which is enforced by a performance assessment system that focuses on individual performance rather than team performance.
7. Little or no concern for work-life balance-People’s personal or family lives must be sacrificed for the job; overwork or workaholism is commonly evidenced by 50-hour-plus workweeks, little or no vacation time, and 24/7 availability for work communication. There is little or no commitment to making contributions to the community, worthy causes, or making the world a better place”.
Bottomline: If those 7 signs are not a wake-up call to the leaders of an organization, that’s likely the problem. In addition, to these signs are many other telltale signs of a toxic work environment, including ones that see new recruits leave after a very short time with an organization.
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