CEO Tips: Essential Steps for Battling a Toxic Work Environment

Corporate culture is at the heart of every organization. It’s the leading factor in an employee’s loyalty to your company, but it’s also a key element of whether he or she is comfortable at work. Of course, no business owner intentionally creates a culture that promotes disrespect (we hope!), but even the most diligent business owners can be caught off guard by the realization that their business has become a toxic work environment.

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and conducted by students at University at Buffalo found that employees who are undermined at work are more likely to begin to undermine their colleagues, causing a vicious cycle.

“When an employee is undermined, it hinders their ability to achieve success, maintain positive relationships and build their reputation,” says the study’s lead author KiYoung Lee, PhD, assistant professor of organization and human resources in the UB School of Management. “This kind of interpersonal aggression costs organizations about $6 billion each year in health problems, employee turnover and productivity loss.”

So what can you do to battle a toxic workplace? We’ve identified three important steps business owners and CEOs can take to create a more positive work environment.

Build Transparency

While some business must happen behind closed doors, of course, transparency is an essential step in creating a team environment. When employees understand what is happening with the company, they are more likely to band together and support one another. It’s not pleasant to operate in a vacuum; let your employees know how their roles and attitudes are impacting the company.

In addition to company-wide meetings where employees are included with big picture discussions such as strategy and growth projections, they should also have one-on-one time with senior management.

Value Cultural Fit

During the hiring process, you have a great opportunity to interview employees for a cultural fit with your organizational values. If you find that one of your employees is undermining other employees, take action. Employees who exude negativity and refuse to align themselves with your company’s vision will wreak havoc on your team’s creativity, positivity, and productivity. Even if they are a top performer, it may be in your best interest to let them go.

Listen Carefully

Your handbook may say that you have an open door policy, but the truth is that most employees find it very challenging to talk with their managers about problems at work until the issue has ballooned into something that’s beyond repair. Consider regular anonymous surveys instead, and then share the results with the entire company.

Want more business tips? Check out my blog.

About the Author

Following more than three decades of business expertise, Tony Edgar has joined forces with FocalPoint Business Coaching to create innovative results for business owners, CEOs, and executives across Southwest Florida. Driven by his focus, decisiveness, effective communication skills, and easygoing personality, Tony is an efficient and dynamic coach for business leaders who are looking for high-end results. Tony specializes in improving the efficiency, productivity, and profitability for his clients.

Start the conversation on how Anthony can help you revolutionize your business. Schedule your free 30-minute business consultation with Tony!


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