The toxicity of workplaces has become a much-discussed topic of late, with bullying and other forms of harassment perhaps more common than many people realise.
However, if you are aware of the signs of a toxic work culture it can be easier to implement measures to eradicate any issues and provide a healthy environment for employees.
What makes a toxic work culture?
A study by shop sign specialists instantprint showed how common toxic workplaces can be. In a survey of 1,000 UK workers, almost 70% said they experienced toxicity in the workplace at least once during their careers.
Bullying was deemed to be the worst trait in the workplace by 46% of respondents, with passive-aggressive communications (45.5%) a close second. Cliques (37.3%) and the favouritism of certain employees (35.3%) were also high on the list, along with gossip and rumours (35%).
It shows just how many factors can lead to a workplace feeling toxic, so it is important to monitor the environment and ensure these issues do not appear within your teams.
Avoiding toxic traits
If you want to nurture a positive working culture, there are a few measures you can take.
Employees feeling as if they can interact with their co-workers and managers is an important way to foster a healthy working environment.
Check in with employees often and ask them how they are doing. Have monthly one-to-ones to check on their progress but take the pressure off the meetings to provide an environment where they feel they can raise any concerns.
Encouraging employees to work together or with members of other teams can help different parts of a business combine more cohesively. It may also be useful if you notice cliques starting to develop.
Collaborating with others builds relationships between people who may have otherwise not interacted. It can also make it easier for colleagues to share creative ideas and offer constructive criticism when necessary.
Provide training opportunities
Things like equality and diversity training can be particularly helpful in developing a positive working culture where bullying is not an issue.
Providing other courses as a means of progression and self-development for employees will ensure the same opportunities are offered to all, removing any concerns about favouritism.
Act upon feedback
Perhaps most importantly, if you are informed of any toxic behaviour occurring in the workplace, act swiftly to stamp it out.
Let it be known that such conduct will not be tolerated. This will remind employees of what is expected of them but also help them feel protected at work.