You may think you’re doing a stellar job of managing diversity in the workplace and providing a healthy, happy environment. However, if any of the following red flags sound familiar, it may be time to check in with your team and adjust your processes.
1. Unhealthy competition
A bit of workplace competition can be incredibly motivating. However, if your team is taking it to unhealthy extremes, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will pan out well for you. Signs of unhealthy competition include:
- Employees working excessive overtime to get ahead;
- Complaints that people are taking credit for the work of others;
- Excessive reporting of small infractions;
- Employees fighting over sales rather than focusing on serving customers well.
2. Clusters of communication issues
Most companies play host to a bit of quiet gossip here and there and the odd heated conversation in a performance review. Isolated issues like these generally aren’t cause for concern. However, noticeable clusters of communication issues are a bright red flag for toxic company culture.
If you’re getting complaints from employees that there’s no transparency from management and complaints from management that employees are spreading rumors and refusing to trust them, you’ve got a cluster on your hands. These problems can quickly develop into a culture so toxic it breeds cliques, gossip, and workplace harassment.
3. Boundary pushing
Managerial boundary-pushing might look like sending messages outside of work hours, asking employees to perform personal tasks like picking up dry-cleaning, or expecting employees to handle more than they reasonably can in a given shift. Employee boundary-pushing can come in the form of time theft, refusal to collaborate with the team, or ignoring company policies.
Let boundary-pushing of any kind continue unchecked, and it will drag down the overall culture of your workplace. No one feels happy if one employee gets to flaunt all the policies they abide by. Similarly, it’s hard to be positive about your workplace if your manager insists on messaging you at all hours of the day.
4. Bad reviews from customers and former employees
There’s no pleasing some people, and we’ve all seen their outlandish reviews go viral. However, if your company receives consistently poor reviews on sites like Trustpilot or Glassdoor, it’s crucial to pay attention.
Clients are quick to pick up on a company culture that’s shady, excessively competitive, or otherwise unpleasant, and they’re not shy about sharing their thoughts online. Similarly, disgruntled former employees often gain a sense of closure by venting their frustration in a blistering Glassdoor review. Even if you disagree with the critiques, it’s important to use them constructively.
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5. Absenteeism & high employee turnover
Never assume that employees are “lazy” if they repeatedly show up late or that they’re “flaky” if they quit after a few weeks or months. Those descriptors may apply to some people. However, in many cases, laziness and flakiness arise from problems with the company culture.
Who’s going to be motivated and excited about coming to a workplace in which they’re bullied, ignored, or expected to engage in cutthroat competition? So, if you notice a trend of absenteeism or high employee turnover, talk to your team, establish what’s happening and how they’re feeling, and take immediate steps to rectify any problems.
Red flags like these are only an indicator of potential problems. To truly understand your workplace culture and whether it’s healthy or toxic, you must check in with your team to see how they feel at work. Foster an environment in which feedback is welcomed and actioned, and you’ll be well on your way to developing a positive, productive, and enjoyable environment at work.