5 Signs of a Toxic Work Culture


Coming to work on Mondays can be hard, but have you ever thought about the words dreadful or terrifying? These emotions often spring out when employees are immersed in a toxic work culture.

And, it can cause serious repercussions. Reduced productivity, increased tension, higher employee turnovers, a loss of financial resources, to just name a few.

That’s why it’s important to identify these 5 signs of a toxic work culture and crush them in a timely manner. Here’s what they are.

  • Little to No Workplace Enthusiasm

    As employers, we can almost feel the energy and happiness that circulates around our workplaces. When something is off, we can sense it. Look around at your colleagues, and be aware. Are people genuinely smiling? Are they voluntarily talking amongst themselves? Or, are they slumped, stressed, and miserable?

    Sometimes, it also only takes one unhappy camper to spoil the enthusiasm for everyone else. According to a study conducted by TinyPulse, 93 percent of workers say that they are less productive when they work with people with poor attitudes. Another 87 percent of workers said that they were willing to switch jobs to avoid working with someone with a terrible attitude too.

  • Trust is Limited

    The foundation of any successful business is trust. A lack of transparency, communication, and/or authenticity can result in a relationship where trust is limited.

    In a toxic working environment, trust is something that needs to be earned. We’re talking about managers triple-checking work and standing over employees. This is an uphill battle for employees and can be incredibly frustrating. Your employees were hired for a reason, and micromanagement is really helping nobody.

  • Excessive Absenteeism & Baffling Turnover Rates

    Not all “sick” days are actually sick days. If at least a few employees are missing every day or there’s a revolving door of new employees, something is wrong. These are indicators that poor work culture is scaring people away.

    When people are looking for a company, 46% of them weigh company culture as very important. A company that puts time and effort into creating a strong culture sees a turnover rate of 13.9 while weak cultures spike up the turnover to over 48.4 percent.

  • The Emergence of Office Politics

    Simply put, office politics are the unique power dynamics within a business. Which employee has the most powerful job title? Who has the better pay? Is someone receiving preferential treatment from the boss?

    When people start concerning themselves with questions like these, this behavior is highly destructive to work culture. It can increase office tension, strain relationships, and negatively impact an employee’s sense of belonging. Titles and pay start to become more important than performance itself — which you don’t want at all.

  • Poor Leadership and Management

    Poor leadership and management are most likely the root cause of most toxic work cultures. Employees learn how to act in the office from their leaders. If an employer is humiliating or dismissive of those who voice their opinions — this rubs off on other employees. The same applies to upper management that enjoys gossiping and talking badly about others. Again, employees will mirror this “acceptable” behavior just because upper management does it.