We’ve touched on both the definition of, and the importance of company culture in previous blog posts. As a business coach, it’s a topic that has come up time and time again over the course of my career. But how can you spot if your company culture is toxic, and more importantly, what can you do to fix it? Speaking from experience, here are three clear signs that the culture of your company has become toxic, and some helpful advice on how to fix it.

1. High Staff Turnover

High staff turnover is an obvious sign of a toxic company culture. People vote with their feet, and if they’re unhappy their actions will speak louder than words. Nobody wants to start a job and leave in less than a year; it doesn’t look good on a CV and rings alarm bells for issues with company culture. If an employee would rather jump ship and tackle the job market again, instead of opting for professional development where they are, you’ve got a problem.

2. Gossip

Another tell tale sign of a toxic company culture is the prevalence of gossip. Communication between management and employees should be consistent, clear, and honest. Anything less than that will breed mistrust, which in turn leads to people making up their own narratives. Gossip is contagious, toxic, and for company culture, downright dangerous.

3. Letting Bad Ideas Flourish

Anyone in a business can have a bad idea. If employees are desperately trying to cover their own bases and their own backs, they’ll not be thinking as a team and subsequently allow bad ideas to flourish. Anyone in the business should be able to float an idea, and equally, anyone should be able to call one out. Expressing a concern regarding a new initiative or business opportunity should be accepted and encouraged, regardless of who the idea originated with. A bad idea is bad for everyone if you’re truly working as a team.

How to Improve a Negative Work Environment

There are, of course, many more signs of a toxic company culture. And there are even more ways that it can be fixed. One important thing to remember is that a toxic work environment CAN be improved. By making the right changes, you will be able to turn the culture around to restore and maintain a positive, productive, work environment. The first step is identifying the problem and taking responsibility for it. This is easier said than done but accepting responsibility will allow you to make the necessary changes. Whether that’s righting whatever wrongs have been made in the past, building trust between management and employees, or simply improving communication lines, it’s never too late to turn the situation around.

If you would like to access further useful advice and helpful techniques to improve your company culture, I can help. Book your free 30-minute 1-2-1 coaching session, or join me for a free half day group session where you’ll have the opportunity to assess your business to highlight areas for improvement, including company culture. Book your session online today, or you can call 07388 019 663 or email markself@actioncoach.com.