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  • Jordan Strate

Does Your Business Have a Toxic Culture? Here's How to Tell

Updated: Jun 17

Having a healthy work environment is super important for any business. But sometimes, a business can develop a toxic culture, which can make employees unhappy and less productive. Let’s look at how you can recognize if your business has a toxic culture and what you can do to fix it.

An uncomfortable meeting due to toxic workplace culture

Signs of a Toxic Work Culture

  1. High Employee Turnover: If many people are quitting their jobs, it could be a sign that they are unhappy at work.

  2. Lack of Communication: When employees don’t talk to each other or their managers, it can lead to misunderstandings and problems.

  3. Low Morale: If workers seem unmotivated or unhappy, it can be a sign of a toxic environment.

  4. Gossip and Rumours: A lot of negative talk and spreading of rumours can make the workplace feel hostile.

  5. Unfair Treatment: If some employees are treated better or worse than others without a good reason, it creates tension.

  6. Overwork and Burnout: If employees are always stressed and working too much, they can burn out and become less effective.

What to Do About It

  1. Open Communication: Encourage everyone to speak up and share their thoughts. Hold regular meetings where employees can voice their concerns.

  2. Set Clear Expectations: Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them. Clear guidelines and goals can help reduce confusion and frustration.

  3. Foster Teamwork: Plan team-building activities to help employees get to know and trust each other. When people work well together, the work environment improves.

  4. Offer Support: Provide resources for stress management and work-life balance. Show employees that their well-being is important. Employee Resource Groups are an excellent tool for this.

  5. Recognize Good Work: Appreciate and reward employees for their hard work. A simple thank you can go a long way in boosting morale.

  6. Fair Treatment: Ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally. Address any issues of favouritism or discrimination immediately.


Here are some great books on building healthy workplace culture and addressing toxicity in the workplace:

  1. "The Art of Caring Leadership" by Heather R. Younger: This book emphasizes the importance of leaders showing genuine care for their employees. It provides nine practical ways to express care effectively and includes a self-assessment for leaders to evaluate their caring practices​.

  2. "The Employee Wellbeing Handbook" by Cassie Sobelton: Sobelton differentiates between wellness and well-being, offering a comprehensive guide to creating a culture of wellness that leads to a healthier and more productive workforce​.

  3. "Mindful Leadership" by Maria Gonzalez: This book introduces nine principles of mindful leadership, helping leaders to become more self-aware, compassionate, and effective in fostering a supportive work environment​.

  4. "The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace" by Gary Chapman and Paul White: Chapman and White explain how understanding and communicating appreciation in meaningful ways can enhance workplace relationships and culture.

  5. "The Culture Question" by Randy Grieser, Eric Stutzman, et al.: This book explores what makes employees engage or disengage at work, providing six key elements of a healthy workplace and practical advice for creating a positive culture.

Recognizing and fixing a toxic work culture is crucial for the success of any business. By looking out for signs of toxicity and taking steps to create a positive environment, you can ensure that your employees are happy, healthy, and productive. Remember, a positive work culture not only makes your employees feel good but also helps your business thrive.


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