So many businesses get workplace culture wrong, and this is usually because they start out without a defined idea of what they want their culture to be. So many SMEs fall victim to a toxic workplace culture because they simply grow so fast that they don’t realise a negative culture is developing around them.
So in this blog, we’re going to take a quick look at 5 signs that your workplace might be suffering from a bad culture – but not to worry, we’re following up with our How To Create A Winning Workplace Culture blog.
Firstly, what is workplace culture and is it even important?
Think of your workplace culture as its personality. Everything your team does contributes to your culture in some way.
It’s important because it affects employee health, loyalty and productivity to name only a few! Take a look at these studies.
A workplace culture can genuinely make or break a company, so you need to get it right. The first step if you think you might have a negative workplace culture is to assess the situation and see if you can figure out where it’s gone wrong. So what are the signs you should look out for?
1) Employee Absenteeism
Take a look through your records and calculate your employee absenteeism rate. It’s best to look at as much data as possible, ie: don’t just take September’s stats – there could have been a cold/flu going around the office. A few years’ data works best.
If your absenteeism rate is more than 3% you may have a problem – but don’t jump up and down assuming people are ‘pulling a sickie’ or slacking off.
Are the people who are absent more often working in particularly stressful roles, are they having trouble working with team members, are they working longer hours? Also, what’s your company sick policy like? Are people negatively incentivised to come to work sick, meaning the office is a hot-bed for viruses?
2) Poor Staff Retention
What is your company turnover like? The UK’s average rate is around 15%, but this figure will vary by industry, for example turnover is a lot higher in hospitality and call centre businesses. If you’re having trouble retaining good staff, perhaps there’s a cultural problem.
If you perform exit interviews, make sure they’re done by someone approachable and impartial if possible. If you don’t do exit interviews, consider introducing them to help you get to the root cause of the issue.
3) Negative Language & Behaviour Problems
If your HR team are often having to settle disputes amongst your employees, you may have a culture problem. So often during the recruitment process, personalities are not considered and this can sometime cause clashes.
Negative attitudes can lead to negative language, poor motivation and poor performance. Negativity in any form is a big indicator that you need to reassess your company culture and find a way to fix it before the negativity spreads through the office.
4) A Blame Culture
It’s unrealistic to think that nothing will ever go wrong, mistakes will never happen, and errors will occur. But take a look at how your teams respond to these situations.
If they respond by passing off blame, rather than being accountable and owning up to any small part they may have played, then you might have a cultural problem.
Employees tend to place blame when they don’t feel safe.
What’s worse is if employees are deliberately letting responsibilities slip to place a colleague under the spotlight, employee sabotage is a massive indication that company culture has become toxic.
5) Tidy Room, Tidy Mind
Take a look around the office, are desks tidy? Is the environment well cared for? Happy employees in a progressive workplace culture will care for their environment.
This doesn’t mean that people can’t have a few papers or keepsakes on their desk, it’s more about whether or not their environment looks cared for.
Workplace kitchens are a great place to assess this, if people leave their cups and plates for someone else to worry about, maybe there’s a problem.
If you’re a team leader, manager or CEO, it can be very easy to shy away from admitting there’s a company culture problem. In many ways, culture must be dictated by the leadership team. The most important thing to do if you think there’s a problem is to identify it and start making improvements as soon as possible.
You’ll be amazed at the improvements that can be made to employee health and wellbeing, productivity, profitability and overall success that can be achieved by correcting a workplace culture that’s gone awry.
Take a look at our blog, How To Create A Winning Workplace Culture.