What are you doing to wipe out toxic work culture?
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

What are you doing to wipe out toxic work culture?

Here are 5 ways to foster trust, the crux of eradicating work toxicity.

The term “toxic work culture” is regularly thrown around in HR meetings. But its vagueness and difficult to prove nature often doesn’t see any action being taken, and those that are taken are quite frankly not enough.

So what is a toxic work culture? It is anything and everything that makes people dislike coming to work; from micromanagement and lack of trust, to bullying and psychopathic working manners. It sees people not being able to communicate what they want to say, working with their heads down, reduced interaction, high levels of stress and apathy, unhelpfulness, and many more.

Eventually, people leave, they do not sing praises of your office or their colleagues, they never get back in touch with those they worked with.

The sad part is, the high performers that are critical to businesses are often the first ones out of the door. And it is easy for them to leave because they are in demand in the market. Recruiters know their value and easily get them good positions.

The longer the toxicity persists, the more difficult it gets to eradicate.

The problem lies in the entire organisation where the culture has fostered for multiple years. It is undoubtedly difficult to change it all at once. The bigger an organisation, the harder it is to change the culture. If you’re a startup or an SME, then it is arguably far easier.

Nevertheless, two main issues emerge, one is that of expense, while the other is business continuity.

The first is easy, an organisation cannot fire everyone, nor does it have a way of knowing who are the culprits. The toxicity leads to higher employee turnover, with a vicious cycle in place.

The second often arises out of distrust. An employee who handles an area of business will often not pass along responsibilities or teach their team the work he/she does. This makes it difficult to do away with this person as they have the power of knowledge.

The resolution of time and actions

We know that lack of trust is one of the main causes of work toxicity. With a dagger of negative consequences hanging above employees’ heads, stress and pressure often trickles down.

Letting go of employees is never a resolution, even though it might help in certain cases. The better, and the right way to tackle toxicity is to foster trust. It might seem challenging at first, but all the right things are. You’ll put a cycle of goodness that will spiral into the organisation with time.

Following are 5 ways in which you can do so:

  1. Allow people to work from home

    If you’re afraid they’ll take advantage of the situation, you may see the irony of the situation. It starts right from the top. One need to first foster trust. See how people are working, what they prefer. Allow for flexible working hours, it is cited as one of the most important benefits that makes employees want to stay.

  2. Empower them to take decisions

    The power to make decisions is the ultimate way of showing people that they are trusted to know what is good for the company and will take the right decisions. It also fosters respect and happiness in employees when they know they are part of forming the company’s future.

  3. Strengthen bonds and reduce hierarchy

    The talk-down attitude is one of the worst ways of dealing with people. We are living in a free society, and no matter a person’s background or position, they deserve respect. The more top level management respects and interacts nicely with those at the junior level, the more loyalty and feeling of belonging they foster, which is critical as they junior level employees get promoted.

  4. Make mistakes a learning curve instead of a punishment point

    People make mistakes, it is part of every company’s day-to-day work. The way you handle mistakes shows character and is a critical point in either increasing respect and loyalty to you and the company, or a point where the employee will feel ashamed, lose face and want to leave the company.

  5. Support employees’ personal goals

    Every good employer knows the value and importance of a balanced life for themselves as well as everyone working with them. If an employee wants to start his own company, or travel the world, have a child, or try something different for a few months, you do not need to support their aspirations. But if you do, they will become that much loyal, appreciative and respectful of you and the organisation.