August 27, 2022
Toxic relationships and environments have gotten a lot of attention as people aim to care for their mental and emotional health.
While there are many skills one can develop to work in or around triggering situations, there is a level of responsibility for the workplace to ensure that employees are able to navigate their work environment with reasonable comfort.
How to identify a toxic work environment
Bad habits can form among employees over time that can make any office feel overbearing. Denying the possibility of that does nothing to correct problems dragging down the environment.
One of the first signs of a negative environment forming is a breakdown in communication. If people do not communicate their needs, goals, or expectations that is a problem. An even bigger problem is when they do not feel comfortable communicating these things.
Managers can pay attention during annual performance reviews. Do employees feel they have a place to grow within a company? Are they able to learn new skills or receive training at work? Do you find repeated names being cited as a source of stress, gossip, or micromanagement?
Understanding what a toxic workplace looks like can help correct it before it consumes the whole staff at a location. A toxic work environment might function fine on paper, or in end-of-year profit charts, but you’ll still feel a tension between departments or employees that prevents people from functioning at their peak.
How to avoid building one
Some of the things that we personally do to ensure that work remains professional, while also offering a positive environment is to offer upward mobility within the company.
It’s typical for employees contributing positively to their environments and the business to receive promotions, raises, or bonuses.
We know how important it is to recognize employees for meaningful work. Regular formal awards and informal shout-outs are a mainstay at GLC.
We also pride ourselves on a leadership staff with reciprocal trust. While managers on our team might have different styles, they are all given a certain amount of control over how their team is balanced. The result is that there is less opportunity for someone to feel micromanaged, or “stuck” working around corporate policies. This benefits not only employees of GLC, but also clients who can be sure that the team serving them is able to do so readily and in the best interests of those who work closely with them.
The result of these regular steps to ensure workplace satisfaction is that we see remarkably less turnover compared to over BPOs. The retention of great employees means people are more adept at their jobs, able to develop new skills, and overall more satisfied with their work.
How to correct one
One of the foremost things to correct a work environment that had turned toxic is to address burnout among the team.
Having employees that have been overworked or have become overwhelmed is a huge contributor to low morale and negative energy in the office. Talk to employees that may need a break, a shift in focus, or some help through an employee assistance program. Burnout is a serious and common issue in any business. It can make the best employees function far outside their norm. If you see signs of burnout impacting your team, address it quickly before it turns into a bigger problem for other employees.
Gossip and rumors can be another source of feeding a toxic environment. We find that policy does little to fix this, but publicly denying false rumors, and having a level of openness about company information when appropriate can help keep this at bay.
Employees should feel comfortable saying that they do not wish to speculate against other personnel in the business. Forming friendships and open communication between coworkers is always encouraged, but never at the expense of another individual.
What other signs of a toxic work environment have you encountered?
What solutions would you recommend to correct or avoid burnout and triggering in the workplace?
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