5 Ways To Fix A Toxic Company Culture

As a business, your company culture can either be your greatest strength or your biggest weakness.

Creating a supportive, inclusive, and employee-focused culture is essential to the success of every business, regardless of size or sector.

Every one of your employees deserves to feel happy and safe on-site, especially if you want them to be motivated and productive in their roles.

With The Great Resignation showing no signs of slowing down, it's never been more important to tackle toxic work cultures.

In 2022, nearly 33% of US workers are considering quitting their jobs, while 25% have resigned over the past six months, with toxic company culture being the number one reason.

Maybe you've noticed negative behaviors and patterns amongst your employees on-site or feel your workplace slipping into an increasingly toxic environment. This can lead to some big issues but don't worry; it's not too late to turn things around.

Before we dive into the steps you can take to fix the issues you're facing, let's look at what exactly we mean when we talk about toxic company culture.

What is a toxic company culture?

Although there is no one-size-fits-all definition of a toxic company culture, it can generally be identified by a similar set of negative characteristics.

A toxic company culture is generally one where the workplace is full of drama, fighting, cliques, and gossip. It is a breeding ground for negativity, miscommunication, and burnt-out employees.

Some elements of toxic work cultures are easy to spot within construction companies, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see what’s really going on with your employees.

Common elements of a toxic company culture can include:

  • Employees have no enthusiasm
  • Constant dysfunction and confusion
  • High absence rates
  • High employee turnover
  • Regular gossip and drama
  • Employees have a pervasive fear of failure
  • Morale is at an all-time low
  • Favoritism
  • Harassment
  • Poor communication
  • Bullying

How to fix a toxic company culture

Now, let's look at how you can fix your work culture for the better and enjoy a workforce of physically and mentally healthy employees who are engaged.
  1. Acknowledge the faults in your work environment

    The first step toward fixing your toxic company culture is to admit you have a toxic company culture. This may sound obvious, but it's a thing many businesses struggle with.

    One of the biggest mistakes they make is listening to their employees' concerns but not acting on the information they receive.

    When your employees are open and honest with you about how they are feeling, you must acknowledge the faults in your work environment. Show them that you are taking what they have to say seriously and that you care about their well-being.

    It can also be hard to witness your staff behaving in an inappropriate or discriminatory way on site but remember: the sooner you accept the faults, the sooner you can fix them.

    Burying your head in the sand is never helpful, and a toxic culture can only be fixed after you admit there is a problem.


  3. Actively communicate with your employees to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it

    Communication within an organization is always important, especially when repairing a toxic culture.

    33% of employees have said that a lack of open, honest communication has impacted their morale. On the other hand, businesses with good communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover.

    As a leader, you must set the stage for your employees to feel comfortable expressing their concerns and worries. Listening to your employees is the best way to pinpoint specific issues within your business's culture.

    Remember, employee feedback should be an ongoing practice, not something that's only carried out now and then. New problems can pop up all the time in the workplace.

    Stopping these problems in their tracks before they become more significant issues is a big part of what separates positive work cultures from negative ones.

    Ways to ask employees for feedback:

    • Pulse surveys
    • Regular one-on-one meetings
    • Suggestion boxes
    • Team meetings

    If you're worried your staff won't open up, gather feedback anonymously. This will provide employees with a safe space to share their honest thoughts and feelings without fear of repercussions.


  5. Have the hard conversations - hold people accountable for their actions

    Accountability in the workplace is all about setting people to a standard by outlining the company's mission, values, and goals. Employees who do not follow the company guidelines and who contribute to the toxic atmosphere must be called out on their actions.

    There is no room for discrimination when it comes to accountability. Everyone in the company should pay for their mistakes, from part-time employees to senior management.

    But simply sitting down to talk to employees about their bad behavior is not enough; you need to take meaningful action. This means implementing a policy for dealing with different forms of bad behavior and following that policy to the letter when it is breached.

    If you don't act after toxic events, employees will lose faith in your ability or desire to look out for them.


  7. Hold everybody to the same standard and offer education to staff members

    Another way to prevent a toxic environment for your employees is to show them what toxic traits and behaviors look like. This can be achieved through various training programs that clarify what types of behaviors will not be tolerated.

    Employee training should tackle different issues that contribute to a toxic environment such as bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

    From the top down, every company member must participate in the training. Not holding senior staff accountable and letting specific incidents slide paves the way for more slides; this way, the toxic cycle continues.


  9. Lead by example - be a good boss.

    You show your employees how to treat each other. As the boss, your behavior influences their behavior at work. It is your responsibility to lead by example and encourage your staff with positive habits.

    Once again, words alone are not enough; to lead by example, you must follow up what you say with action. Remember, if what you're doing and saying contradicts each other, that inconsistency can lead to a lack of trust among your employees.

    Leading by example can significantly benefit your entire workforce and replace a negative company culture with a positive one. Some of the benefits of setting a good example include:

    • Inspiring the people around you
    • Building trust between you and your team
    • Creating an inclusive, collaborative work environment
    • Building a culture of accountability
    • Increasing productivity through teamwork
    • Setting the standards of success on your team
    • Increasing team loyalty, engagement, and retention
    • Contributing to great team building

We hope our blog has helped you see the value of positive company culture and how you can improve your construction company by avoiding a toxic working environment.

If you want to show your audience that you're a company that genuinely cares about the well-being of its staff, then our team will help you out.

At Just For Contractors, we specialize in helping construction companies make their mark online and attract the best talent on the market. We're experts in digital marketing and can help you completely transform your online presence so you can easily attract clients and new hires.

Get in touch today - we'd love to help you out!

Susan Smith - Founder of Just for Contractors -web design marketing and branding
Susan Smith
The Founder and Strategist & Lead Designer of Just for Contractors

Susan and her team help contractors and the skilled trades get ahead of their competitors with a one-of-a-kind website that actually works,
backs up their excellent work and brings in the kind of clients (and team) they want.

She’s been in the construction trade since she was a kid — her dad owned a 100+ people tool and die business, her husband and now her 3 kids are all in the
trades. She understands them and was tired of seeing the really crappy websites the construction trades had online and hearing them say "I don't get any leads
from my website". If their website was crappy, they were losing business. It was time to intervene.

You can find Susan on LinkedIn.
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