The Cost of a Poor Workplace Culture

The culture of a workplace has a great impact on the performance of employees. A positive workplace culture is one that values and cultivates professionalism, teamwork, and productivity, all of which lead to excellence. Negative workplace cultures are those that unwittingly incentivize employees to act in ways that are counterproductive, thus leading to failure or poor performance. It should be noted that companies don’t set out with the explicit intention of establishing a negative workplace culture. However, a series of poor decisions on the part of the leadership team can inadvertently cause a negative workplace culture to take root. Negative workplace cultures have the following impacts on companies and businesses.

A negative workplace culture is one where the managers don’t express appreciation for the hard work and the dedication of their employees. If employees don’t feel as though their hard work counts for something, they are likely to develop a bad attitude towards their work, which can lead to negligence, poor performance, and low productivity. Employee attitudes are likely to diminish if they realize that promotions within the company are not merit-based, or that their bosses take credit for their work, and they get nothing in return. Bad attitudes can cause employees to lower their attention to detail, to procrastinate, and to only do the bare minimum. Whenever there is a bad attitude in the workplace, the morale and the self-confidence of the employees will diminish, and you will end up with people who are only going through the motions, rather than putting in their best efforts.

Even in a business with a written code of ethics, new employees still take their cues from their bosses and those who have been around for longer than them. This means that unethical behavior in the workplace can be infectious. If the managers are willing to break the rules in order to win, the employees with do the same, and the end result will be a business that has little regard for ethics. Some workplace cultures encourage bad behavior by promoting or giving bonuses to employees who succeed by employing unethical tactics. If employees feel that they are permitted to break the rules, they will do it, and the business will ultimately lose the trust of its customers, or even face legal problems.

For any business to stay competitive today, it has to nurture creativity within the ranks of its employees. It also has to encourage open communication and to embrace suggestions and ideas from all of its workers. A negative workplace culture is one that suppresses creativity and open communication. Executives who belittle the ideas of their staff or disregard them altogether, end up sending the message that creativity and communication are not important to the company. If such a culture persists, employees will no longer feel the need to offer any unsolicited input, the status quo will be maintained, and simple problems will be much more difficult to solve.

A good workplace culture is one that encourages teamwork and healthy competition, and one where the leaders and managers are seen as mentors. Negative cultures tend to encourage negative competition, where everyone acts to advance their own interests rather than teaming up to ensure the success of the business. Good managers and leaders should bring employees together, not pit them against each other. Team building encourages collective effort and responsibility, but unhealthy competition can lead to waste of resources and animosity among the staff.

Turning a negative workplace culture into a positive one

It is possible to turn a negative workplace culture into a positive one by creating positive workplace rules and implementing them with concerted effort. Companies can get rid of negative cultures by investing in leadership skills. Leadership training is important not just for top managers, but for employees of all levels. You can rebuild a positive corporate culture or avoid a negative one by ensuring that your executives are trained to lead by example and that your employees feel that they are integral to the success of the company.

The mental health and wellbeing of employees has a bearing on their productivity. A negative workplace culture can breed stress and anxiety in employees. However, it’s possible to turn things around by changing stress and anxiety into efficiency and productivity. Employees are usually stressed by a negative culture because deep within, they care about their work, and they want to do a good job. With proper leadership and guidance, stress and anxiety can be channeled into attention to detail, creativity, and even excellent performance.