Everyone has moments of frustration at work: times when you disagree with a colleague, times when the company makes a change you are hesitant about, or you are blamed for a mistake performed by others.
However, when the frustration is constant, when the stress is overwhelming, and when work is impacting the health of you or your employees, you have likely created a toxic work environment.
According to a poll done by Monster, 42 percent of workers in the United States have left their jobs because it was a toxic environment. That means that if the workplace makes no changes, it is at risk of losing numerous employees. For those employees who do choose to stay, they will likely have lower morale and less motivation, and as a result, be less productive overall.
These four signs provide strong evidence that your company has created a toxic environment.
You’re Experiencing a High Turnover Rate
If your employees are resigning in droves, it’s time to take a look inward. A high turnover rate means, simply, people do not want to work at your company, and can find better opportunities elsewhere.
Generally, employees leave due to poor management, too much work for not enough pay, or expectations they feel they cannot meet. Evaluate whether any of these need to be looked at, and decide whether you have the ability to solve the problem.
If you are unsure why employees are leaving, request exit interviews, but be sure to create an environment in which the resigning employee feels comfortable being honest.
Your Employees Lack Work-Life Balance
Often, employees in such environments will not feel as if their time is valued. The leadership in the company will expect the employee to devote all of their time to the job. Boundaries are no longer respected, and it becomes the norm to receive emails and phone calls at all times of day (or night).
Employees in this situation quickly become resentful. They feel they lack sufficient time for family commitments, hobbies, or activities they once loved doing.
If you sense your employees feel this way, take a hard look at your company’s expectations. Make sure they are realistic, as well as match work hours and compensation. In addition, take the time to get to know your employees’ lives outside of work. Knowing you respect how they like to spend their time off-hours shows you are making an effort.
Your Employees Don’t Talk at Meetings
At some companies, meetings are lively conversations with diverse input, thoughtful questions, and engaged brainstorming. At others, the leaders of the company speak, while the employees listen, rarely saying a word.
When no one seems to say anything at meetings, this is likely because they feel uncomfortable expressing their viewpoints. They may feel negative consequences will result, or that their contributions would fall on deaf ears.
If your company’s meetings involve you doing all the talking, reflect on your actions when an employee does speak. Do you react in a positive or welcoming way, or do you talk right through it or brush off their input? Enable your employees to feel heard, and ensure no negative repercussion will come from offering a divergent idea.
Your Managers Are Doing Too Much Managing
More often than not, those managing the employees are creating the toxic environment present. A leader who is micro-managing everything their employees do is inadvertently lowering their self-esteem and motivation by making them question their ability to create on their own. If the employees are able to maintain that confidence, they will still feel that everything they do is watched and criticized.
Instead, as a leader, focus on what to ask your workers so they can finish a task successfully. Consider the directions and resources to give them in order for them to work with minimal supervision.
To avoid falling into the trap of creating a toxic work environment, you need to prioritize your most essential resource: the people who work for you. If you show you care about them, they will care about the work.
If you do believe you have created a toxic work environment, it’s not too late! Reach out and talk to us about how to make your company one workers will love being a part of.