Jessica Robinson
Written by
Jessica Robinson

A company’s culture says a lot about the values and people within a company. It is reflective of the virtues that are reinforced in the workplace every day. A good company culture facilitates the success and advancement of an organization. On the contrary, a demotivated and toxic culture can cut short an organization’s pursuits. Hence, we lay so much emphasis on company culture and discuss the virtues that ought to be incorporated. 

As per Builtin, company culture is an imperative criterion for 46 percent of job seekers. They would rather not join a company that is known to have a negative or insensitive culture. In fact, around 15% to 20% of candidates decline job offers on the pretext of company cultures. It is a known fact that workplace cultures are among the strongest pillars of organizational success. When these pillars are weak, an organization begins to stumble. In fact, a company culture gone all wrong can even lead to the shutting down of a business.

We often discuss how an ideal company culture ought to be. However, in this blog, we would look at the other side of things. This post delves deep to shed light on what a company culture should not be like. In this post, we rather discuss the characteristics of a workplace culture gone wrong. 

Virtues that make a workplace culture toxic 

1. Quest for perfection

A workplace culture that demands overwhelming perfection from employees is far beyond being ideal. Perfection often sets unrealistic expectations and makes failures unpardonable. The other drawbacks of perfectionism include constant stress, stagnation, disgraceful relationships, and unprecedented selfishness. All these virtues will lead to negative developments in the workplace. Besides, these negative influences will hamper the overall efficiency of the company.

In such a work environment, employees will dwell under constant fear. They will feel dreaded that one failure can cost them their job. Moreover, in the quest for perfection, no one will be supportive of each other. Productivity of employees will drop and so will their motivation. Also, because of the zero-tolerance for mistakes, employees will never back their abilities. They will not be able to bring out the best of creativity and innovation in them. They will hold themselves back from thinking outside the box for the fear of failing. 

Perfection will create a toxic work environment where employees will feel that their abilities and spark are getting strangulated. They would not want to be a part of such a company and may switch at the first good opportunity. When employers expect perfection from employees at all times, the latter will be under great pressure. They will also be reluctant to seek assistance or help and will commit errors more often. In the ultimate sense, it is the company that is at a loss of competence.

2. Lack of emotional connect

The emotional connections between people in a business organization are vital. Healthy relationships within a company propel higher employee engagement and efficiency. In fact, emotional connections become far more important in contemporary times. In the growing culture of remote or hybrid workplaces, it is critical to foster the virtues of empathy and emotional intelligence. As per a survey by Flex Jobs, 48 percent of remote workers lack emotional support in their jobs. 

Further, this lack of emotional support and connections adds to work stress. The mental health of employees starts getting deteriorated. The lack of empathy and emotional connections among co-workers makes employees far more vulnerable. Their negative emotions begin to override their minds and their efficiency takes the back seat. Also, as per the State of Workplace Empathy report, more than 70 percent of employees expect more empathy from their superiors. 

As a business leader, if you are not sensitive to your employees’ emotions, you will lose their loyalty. Employee burnout, emotional insecurities, negative thoughts, and mental illness will become prominent features of your company’s culture. Besides, there will be a lack of emotional support between you and your employees. Soon the impacts will be visible in declining productivity and rising errors. A workplace culture where people are disconnected from each other can wreck a company’s overall performance. Even you would not appreciate such a negative and disengaged culture where people do not have the feeling of collective belonging.

3. Extensive micromanaging

A workplace where managers monitor every little detail in the team and every step of workflow management is repelling. Employees do not appreciate micromanaging and a company may pay a hefty price for micromanagement. To substantiate, as per Trinity Solutions, 69 percent of employees consider quitting their jobs because of micromanagement. Given that, this style of business management can trigger higher employee turnover and disengagement rates. Rather than attracting top talents, such a workplace culture will make the existing talents quit.

Moreover, micromanagement tests the patience levels of employees. It makes them feel immense stress and makes them vulnerable to burnout. Besides, it threatens their personal space, sabotages their autonomy, and freezes their efficiency. To add, it also discourages employees from being innovative. When employees are micromanaged, they fail to recognize their true potential and lack confidence. Employees would rather be happy to quit such a workplace than trying to make peace with micromanagement. No one would want to be a part of such an uninspiring work culture offering negligible autonomy. Employees rather want their own space and the support for curating a better work-life balance

4. Ineffective collaboration

If people in the workplace are unable to collaborate in an effective manner, it can have serious repercussions. A culture that does not endorse collaboration can never be a facilitator to organizational success. Employees are often required to work in teams to achieve common goals. The outcome of their performance as a team has a direct correlation with collaboration. Collaboration is all about bridging the gaps and accumulating individual efficiencies. As cited by SalesForce, more than 86 percent of employees state ineffective collaboration as the primary reason for workplace failures. 

Moving forward, paying heed to collaboration is even more important in the ongoing times. The corporate world is undergoing a paradigm shift. As stated by Forbes, more than 70 percent of employees will be working remotely. Hence, in the times to come, team coordination and cooperation will rely more on digital mediums. As per Mckinsey, 80 percent of businesses are already leveraging collaboration tools. So, if a company is failing to create a collaborative workplace, it is a characteristic of a negative culture.

A culture of collaboration gravitates top talents. To substantiate, as per ProofHub, more than 99 percent of employees prefer a workplace where issues are identified and discussed in a collaborative way. To add, Mercer concludes that more than 33 percent of millennials desire collaborative workplaces. They will look for a company that promotes collaboration even while applying for freelancing jobs. 

Hence, in failing to create a natural culture of collaboration, you allow negativity to take over. A workplace with no room for collaboration will not have exemplary talents interested. Further, it may also lead to ineffective communication and a lack of clear goal sharing in the company. This will be tantamount to a culture gone wrong by all means and affect the growth and advancement of your business and its strategic objectives for growth.

5. Lack of mentorship

A company’s culture starts becoming regressive when bosses begin to ignore their mentorship roles. As a business leader, you are expected to share your experience and expertise with your team. Besides being a boss, you have a mentorship role to play almost every day. When you act as a mentor to your employees, you suit their learning and development requirements. Every fresher begins their journey in an organization with the basic anticipation of learning. They want to learn from their superiors, develop skills, and grab opportunities for advancement.

In fact, as cited by Lorman, 87 percent of millennials hold the belief that learning in the workplace is imperative. To add, as per Forbes, 55 percent of workers prioritize career growth to remuneration. Moreover, Forbes explains that almost half the employees are dissatisfied with their company’s learning and development prospects. This scenario can pull down the engagement and retention rates of an organization.

Hence, as a business owner, you need to know how important learning opportunities are for your team. When you mentor them, it will do a world of good to their confidence. They will feel the natural urge to value your guidance and deliver results out of gratitude. In the ultimate sense, as a mentor, you can drive positive changes in the workplace environment. 

Moreover, your mentorship will have a positive impact on employees’ productivity and organizational success. In fact, passionate mentoring and knowledge sharing are among the most promising habits of successful entrepreneurs. Having said that, you do not have to act like a boss all the time. You can drive greater success by playing a mentor at times and treating employees as your mentees.

6. Exclusive decision making

Most business organizations do not focus on the need to incite a sense of belonging among employees. In the eventual sense, this leads to a disconnect in the workplace. This disconnect can further translate into a negative company culture where employees criticize their employers. Hence, it is significant on the part of employers and top leaders to promote a sense of belonging. In fact, as per Deloitte, workplace belonging can enhance job performances up to 56 percent. Furthermore, it can bring down turnover rates by 50 percent and employee absenteeism by 75 percent. These credible insights further validate the need for fostering a company culture around the feeling of belonging. 

But this sense of belonging cannot exist in a company where there is a lack of transparency and employees are not included in decision making. As per Forbes, around 50 percent of workers assert that their companies hold back from being transparent. On similar lines, many employees feel ousted from the decision-making that takes place within the organization. This lack of belonging and inclusiveness can deteriorate employees’ motivation, happiness, and loyalty. 

In such a passive company culture, the gap between employers and employees will keep widening. Further, there will be some trust deficits and they will soon become visible in organizational failures. Therefore, opaque and exclusive company culture is a fine example of how a workplace culture should not be.

7. Celebrating overtime 

Working overtime is a good virtue that some employees may hold. However, the celebration of a culture where people work for long hours may not be the best thing to do. It will be unfair to those people who finish their work on time and want to go back to their personal lives after a productive day. Celebrating people staying in the office for long hours and presenting them as prodigies is an example of negative work culture. 

This may create a sense of inferiority complex among others. Your employees may be investing complete dedication in their stipulated working hours and still feel they are not good enough. This is because they are always being compared to people staying at work late or working on Sundays. This may have a devastating impact on the overall morale of your team. Working till late should be a choice but not the means to being an epitome.

As long as workers perform their work duties with integrity and commitment during dedicated work hours, they should not be made to feel guilty for not working over and above the workday timings. Doing so can disengage even the best of your employees. 

To encapsulate, your company’s culture has a direct impact on the success of your business. Even in these times of remote working and virtual workplaces, culture holds its significance. In fact, culture may assume a greater imperativeness than ever before in contemporary times and the times ahead. While a positive culture can make a company overachieve, a negative culture can lead to irreparable losses. As an employer and a business leader, you need to ensure that negative dimensions in the workplace culture are plugged out. The sooner you identify and address these the better it would be for you! 

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