Has your company ever been described as “toxic”? Forbes notes that one of the biggest reasons people left their job in 2021 was because of a toxic working environment. Conversely, many people look to company culture when they are in the midst of a job hunt and many stay in their current positions because they love the culture so much. With that being said, what exactly does it mean to have a toxic work environment for your employees and what happens when you have one?
Signs your work environment is toxic
According to Vantage Circle, a toxic work environment can be identified as having “bad leadership, poor management skills, loosened code of conduct, and lack of communication.” One can also expect to experience instances of gossiping, favoritism, pressure from management, a communication gap, and more. This is a significant problem as it can cause “trouble, conflict, low morality, excessive tension, negative results, illness, high turnover, and even abusive behavior amidst employees.”
To avoid all of these issues, what can you do to have a healthier, more positive culture in your organization?
How to create a healthy work environment
As we’ve seen, company culture plays a big role in the overall success of your company. It’s hard to succeed when your entire team is burnt out, unhappy, and unproductive. Zoho notes several easy ways that organizations can create a better environment where their employees feel valued, heard, recognized, and empowered, including:
1. Create better transparency
Transparency allows your employees to feel like they are truly a valued part of the team. They’ll trust upper management more, have better productivity, and feel more motivated to come to work. On the flip side, poor transparency does the exact opposite.
Being honest about good news, bad news, and important decisions, maintaining open communication, allowing your employees to weigh in on issues, and “being available” are all ways that you can start to provide better transparency as soon as today.
2. Help your employees feel more empowered
There are several ways that you can empower your employees, including:
- Provide them with an opportunity to take on more responsibilities
- Promote better communication
- Be clear on what the company goals are
- Ensure they have everything they need to be successful
When employees feel more empowered, they often work “more effectively and efficiently” and become “more confident and satisfied.” Better productivity and motivation come from those who feel good in their positions.
3. Provide employees with flexibility
By creating a flexible work environment, you’re giving your employees control over their work schedules and a healthier work-life balance. Not only do they end up feeling like leadership actually cares about them, but they’re less likely to miss a day of work without proper notice.
This doesn’t mean that work becomes a free-for-all. It means you are clear about what your “flexible policy” is, minimize meetings, give people the opportunity to work remotely, and, most importantly, trust your team. In addition to feeling more valued, employees no longer have to feel like they’re sacrificing their personal life for their work life and they’re less likely to seek employment opportunities elsewhere.
4. Show your employees recognition
Achievers emphasizes just how important it is to recognize your employees daily for their hard work. Showing them recognition, especially publically, can help give them a boost in both their confidence and their motivation as well as show other employees what kind of behavior and achievements will be rewarded. Aside from giving them praise, some other ways you can show your employees more recognition include:
- Giving a raise or a bonus
- Creating an office-wide game
- Bring in breakfast or lunch to show appreciation to everyone
- Provide them with additional PTO
- Use social media to show them recognition
- Put together a company event such as a party or group outing
- Hand out gift cards
You can find more ideas here.
5. Prioritize feedback
There are two ways feedback can help create a positive, more productive working environment: through giving and receiving. By providing your employees with helpful and respectful feedback, you’re giving them an opportunity for growth. They’ll have a better understanding of your expectations and know where to go moving forward. For tips on how to give constructive feedback, follow this link.
Being open to receiving feedback can help you create a better working environment for your employees, too, and it gives them a voice within the company. They may have ideas on how to improve company culture, productivity, efficiency, and more. Welcoming this feedback as well as acting upon it will lead them to feel more connected to you and to your organization.
6. Use your core values
At some point, you likely compiled a small list of core values for your organization. This wasn’t just a list of key features to help you guide your marketing efforts and provide you with more content for the “About Us” section on your website. It’s also a blueprint for your company culture. Ensuring that your employees know what your values are can help them better understand how they can contribute to and help make the company better.
Additionally, it’s important that you “practice what you preach.” If you have values set for your company, but don’t follow them yourself, your employees will simply follow suit. For more reading on core values, check out this article.
Benefits of a healthy work environment
According to Indeed, company culture is deeply impacted by the attitudes of management, how employees are treated, core values, and “benefits and perks” provided. When you’ve done the work to foster a positive, healthier culture and working environment for you, your management team, and the rest of your employees, you can expect to see a wide array of benefits. Some of these include:
- Higher job satisfaction among your staff
- An increased retention rate
- An easier recruitment process
- More collaboration among employees and better productivity
In addition to your employees, you also spend a large part of your life at work. So, why not make it an enjoyable experience for everyone?