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      How to recognise the signs of a toxic workplace

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      The right company culture can make a huge difference to a business. Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, highlights what you need to avoid…

      The right culture can help organisations hire and retain top talent, grow and be more productive. But the wrong culture can have a negative impact on everything. Here are some key red flags to watch out for that may indicate you have a toxic culture:

      1. The alpha office

      Do one or two big personalities seem to dominate every conversation in your office? When only a few people feel empowered to speak up, it’s a sign that the business isn’t particularly democratic and you may have a toxic culture. 

      2. Under performance

      When someone isn’t meeting their objectives, it’s easy to blame the individual, but often poor performance may be more about a lack of engagement. It’s worth scratching below the surface when performance slips to look at the root cause.

      3. Micro management

      Successful companies hire good people then empower them to get the job done. When senior staff feel the need to get involved in day-to-day operations or micromanage, it’s a sign that something is broken.

      4. Authenticity

      Talking about changes or culture is easy, but putting them in to practice is hard. When a company says all the right things but doesn’t act on them, employees will pick up on this and become disengaged.

      5. Negativity

      Though it’s normal for everyone to get frustrated every now and again, an office where complaining is more common than celebrating is a big red flag.

      6. Leavism

      To perform at our best, we all need time to recharge. A common sign of a toxic environment is when the work-home balance isn’t respected and employees are expected to work overtime or during holidays.

      7. High turnover

      Ultimately, when staff are unhappy, they vote with their feet. If you’re seeing turnover spike either in a specific team or across the company, it’s time to capture learnings from those leaving, and encourage senior leaders to engage with employees to take a close look at the company culture.