Daily Buzz: Four Signs of a Toxic Workplace Culture

If your office is dealing with these four things, it’s time for a culture wake-up call. Also: why getting social is key to purposeful meetings.

A toxic workplace culture is hard to repair. Once employees feel the sting of low morale, productivity dips, and it becomes harder to serve members or customers.

That’s why it’s important to step in and make adjustments at the first hint of a negative work environment. According to a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick and United Minds, if your organization exhibits any of these four signs, consider it time to get the team together for a culture intervention:

1. Inadequate investment in employees. “The most important—and rather obvious—thing an employer can do to avoid cultural crisis?” asks Michelle Cheng on Quartz at Work. “Invest in its people, whether that’s through benefits or professional development opportunities designed to lead to a healthier culture and, ultimately, better business outcomes.”

2. No accountability. Your organization has a mission for a reason, and when there is doubt about its commitment to its values, team members—including those at the top—can use it as justification for bad behavior.

3. Lack of diversity. “Nearly eight in 10 employees who left their jobs said they were victims of unfair treatment such as stereotyping, harassment, and microaggressions,” Cheng says. “The firm suggests a focus on culture could have made a difference, noting that nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents who left jobs indicated that they would have stayed if their employers had made an effort to fix hurtful norms and behaviors.”

4. Unclear ethical standards. A disturbing figure: Only 28 percent “strongly agreed” that their organization’s actions align with its values. Nearly half of respondents also said that the pressure to deliver often comes at the expense of ethics.

“Between the advent of social media and the increasing willingness of employees to speak out when companies’ actions don’t align with their stated values … cultural issues that were once dealt with internally are now being handled publicly,” Cheng says. “It’s yet another incentive for companies to pay attention to the health of their culture.”

For Purposeful Meetings, Get Social

“A purposeful meeting is one that enriches hearts and minds, taking attendees to new levels,” writes Sylvia Peters on Small Business Rainmaker. “According to findings of behavioral science, what people experience actually changes physical brain tissue. People exercise their brain through conversation, more than two-thirds of which is social.”

So, if your meeting agenda consists of asking attendees to stare at a PowerPoint, think again. Make gatherings more social through interactive activities, such as breaking up participants into smaller, focused groups.

“Every organization has an untapped pool of energizing change agents—people who are goal-driven, mature, and highly positive,” Peters says. “They are a natural inspiration to others. They’re always ready to take initiative and can help with every step of the process of establishing purpose.”

Other Links of Note

Not sure how to leverage TikTok? Event Marketer shares how to effectively use the social media platform at meetings.

Associations must deliver value to keep members coming back. CMSWire offers a formula to measure how much value your organization is giving.

(matejmo/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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