5 Ways to Avoid Toxic Company Culture

Posted by Maria Talley on Jan 22, 2016 6:32:00 PM
Maria Talley
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Bulding a resiliant company culture doesn't have to be a struggle...

Preventative measures are the best way to create a healthy company culture, which stands in opposition to its evil twin, the toxic company culture. A good hiring manager will be aware of the symptoms of a toxic environment and will work toward combating the insidious behaviors that eat away at productivity, before they become a problem. Behaviors like gossip, political games, and workplace bullying keep people on edge and harm office morale. Fortunately, it’s not as bad as it seems. Here are some guidelines to help managers prevent disintegration and create a company culture based on support and trust.


1. Embrace an Open-Source Culture

The idea behind an open source culture is that individuals gravitate toward what they naturally want to work on. The case for establishing an open-source culture is strong. When top leadership values and nurtures internally cultivated ideas, it demonstrates a culture of respect and reciprocity. By allowing employees more breathing room to work autonomously, good leadership empowers everyone to reach greater professional and personal heights. Autonomy leads to various benefitssuch as higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover and absenteeism, and turns ideas into actionable business solutions.

2. Pay for Achievements, Not Positions

Creating healthy competition based on recognizing your team for the achievements and not titles should be your top priority. Often companies end up overpaying for employees in lofty positions who only grow complacent due to lack of desire to do their best.  We recommend compensating based on practical achievements and developing procedures that ensure accountability on all levels.

3. Appreciate Your Employees 

A large part of your efforts in creating a strong culture should be dedicated toward building a recognition program that adequately makes employees feel appreciated because genuine praise makes them feel worthy. It’s been proven that appreciation is the single highest measure of workplace engagement. External motivators like money quickly lose their appeal -- much faster than personal accolades, which tap into a person’s values and core beliefs. Appreciation is born of honest praise. Praise should be specific, timely, and genuine.

4. If You Have to Fire, Do It Right

Letting go of your team member can be an emotional process, but as a manager, you must take measures to protect your company’s legal and financial interests. A good progressive discipline policy makes use of documentation to track the necessary steps that lead to termination. Giving early feedback to the underperforming employee will ensure that she knows what is expected of her. Firing should never be done in the heat of the moment, and a fired employee should never feel as though she was not approached early enough with the given directives to improve her performance. Taking your time in doing the right thing will not only make the termination process less painful, it will also preserve your company’s reputation.

5. Develop Mentorship

According to Glass Door, professional growth is the number two reason for accepting a job. Employees want to know that they can advance in their new position. By pairing a seasoned employee with a mentor, you take an interest in that person’s professional growth. Mentorship programs provide substantial benefits to the organization,  mentor and protégé. Forbesrecommends matching a mentor with someone that can be groomed for a management role. Provided both parties are invested in the success of the relationship, the agreement struck can form a more collaborative culture and even function as a succession plan.

By following measures provided in this article you will be well on your way to creating a healthy company culture. Health, not toxicity will become your modus operandi, helping you manage from a place of strength, not negativity.

In what ways do you motivate your employees? Have you found any success using these techniques? Share your experience in the comments!

If you would like to learn more about building a resiliant culture, let's chat!


Topics: culture fit, company culture

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