How to Change A Toxic Workplace [Complete Guide]

People now have access to a myriad of job opportunities and this has caused competition in the world of business to become even fiercer. More than competition in providing quality products and or services, there is now also a war for people. 

To attract and keep employees, an organization needs to have a good company culture. A toxic workplace repels talented employees. This is why it’s crucial for employers to know how to change a toxic workplace and transform it into a place that sparks creativity, teamwork and productivity. 

According to a survey by SHRM, 42% of workers would leave their jobs if the workplace is toxic. Moreover, job seekers now have higher standards and with it includes having to work for an organization that has a good reputation and company culture. 

This is supported by studies that have shown that having a positive company culture is a major factor in attracting and keeping employees. One such study is from Hays

Their study has shown that 43% of workers searching for a new job had company culture for their main reason. A toxic workplace doesn’t just affect retention but it also has a detrimental effect on productivity. 

While rectifying a toxic workplace can be a daunting challenge, it is possible. Here’s how to change a toxic workplace:

Be Empathetic

Employees can disengage if their leaders are not empathetic. They won’t feel motivated to be more involved and the workers can have low morale. In fact, according to Jennifer Robison of Gallup, disengagement can increase the likelihood of employee depression and anxiety. 

This impacts productivity and can also result in costs to business. Moreover, a leader who is not empathetic has less influence over employees. According to Businessolver, 92% of workers are more to stay if their employer would be more empathetic. 

Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Workers need to be heard and understood and if this need is not met, they’ll be open to finding new job opportunities handled by an empathetic employer. 

Set An Example

Leaders help shape employee culture. This is because as leaders, they are seen as the role-models of the workforce. They influence the employees and affect how everyone can be in the workplace. 

Here’s how to change a toxic workplace by setting an example:

  • Listen to your employees – if employees know they are valued, they can be more engaged. 
  • Treat all employees the same – if all workers are treated the same way, the morale of the workforce improves.
  • Be clear with your expectations and promote good communication.
  • Display good work-life balance
  • Discourage gossiping
  • Evaluate to motivate, don’t criticize. 
  • Recognize the efforts of the employees.
  • Compliment employees
  • Saying thank you
  • Banish bullying, disrespect and conflicts
  • Provide resources for emotional intelligence

Be generous with your knowledge. Help employees know how they can become better at their jobs. You can also help them even if the issue is outside the realm of work such as with how to better refinance student loans.

Good leadership is key in forming a positive company culture. Building up morale, improving employee engagement and fostering spirit of teamwork leads to excellent workplace culture.

Recognize Employee Efforts

A company doesn’t have to reach the extremes for it to be labeled as having a toxic workplace. So long as the general trend of the workplace is disempowering, it can be considered toxic. 

While this can sound like a minor issue, not recognizing the efforts of employees can have detrimental effects. Employee recognition affects retention, engagement, morale and productivity of the workers. 

According to Gallup, one of the main reasons why workers leave their jobs is because of lack of recognition. Understand that wanting to be appreciated is part of human nature. According to HR Digest, people don’t just want to work for money, workers want to get a life on their jobs.

Depriving employees of recognition can demotivate them from performing at their peak. According to Medium, “employees who feel appreciated and valued at work perform better and prove more productive.” 

Meanwhile, underappreciated employees can show poor performance and absenteeism. Moreover, underappreciated workers are costing you more. According to 15five, Nicole Fink of Roberts Wesleyan University, underappreciated employees are costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars each year to run businesses.

Here are statistics about employee recognition:

  1. According to O.C. Tanner Learning Group, 70% of workers leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. 
  2. 82% of employees prefer praise over gift. – Officevibe

According to Psychometrics, 58% of workers say employee recognition is how leaders can improve employee engagement. Not recognizing employees can cause dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction produces disengaged, less productive and unmotivated employees. 

In other words, employers who don’t recognize employee efforts contribute to creating a toxic workplace. This isn’t something you would want to do. Don’t undervalue the significance of employee recognition. 

With how to change a toxic workplace, we’ve given you steps that you can do right away. To summarize, here’s what you can do with how to change a toxic workplace:

  1. Be empathetic
  2. Set an example
  3. Recognize employee efforts

Foster a positive company culture by following those steps. Become more employee-oriented as it is the key to business growth and success. Create the change today.