5 Warning Signs of a Toxic Workplace Culture
By Ella Wilson
Companies live and die by their workplace culture. If going into work ever felt like walking to the gallows, you know that’s true.
But beware – “Company Culture” is a big fancy corporate buzzword some companies use to lure in new recruits … whether they actually HAVE a great culture or not. Here are some unmistakable ways to spot a toxic workplace culture fast. Whether you’re going in for an interview or just started your new job, if you discover that the workplace is toxic, get out before it poisons you.
Nobody ever had a good time without making a sound. If you don’t hear laughter, respectful communication, lively discussions, and office banter, that’s a red flag. Are people scared to talk, like they’re back in elementary school? Are they so swamped with work there’s not a second for normal human interaction? Are they hunkered behind their screens looking for new jobs? Do they just hate each other and have nothing to say?
Employees and leadership don’t interact
In a great workplace culture, the boundary between management and employees is often blurred if not completely obliterated altogether. Great leadership wants feedback and input from all levels of the company. If communication only goes in one direction – top down – run.
The opposite of #1 – Yelling
No one has the right to yell at you at work. If out-of-control tempers are tolerated (or even worse yet, the norm), you’re looking at a toxic workplace culture. No one deserves to be treated that way. Not only does yelling humiliate and disrespect the person on the receiving end, but it also creates stress and anxiety in the witnesses. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but yelling at co-workers is over the line in any environment.
This should be a no-brainer, but in the hustle and bustle of job hunting, it’s easy to forget to check reviews! Do your research and check out any company you’re considering working for on Glassdoor. Look not only at the company’s rating but also to topics that pop up over and over in reviews – issues like bad communication, office politics, or micromanagement.
Lack of empathy
How do people react when someone makes a mistake? Is the person reamed in public, or are they offered help? When someone is out sick, does everyone else complain about having to do their work, or do they express concern about the health of the person? A lack of empathy doesn’t always come from a sociopath – a toxic environment can bring it out in even the nicest person.
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