By RedBalloon for Business

Signs your work culture is creating a negative employee experience

To understand how to create – and deliver – a positive employee experience, you first need to recognise that work culture encompasses more than just the attitudes of your employees. It involves beliefs, thought processes, company ideologies, principles, and more.

For your team to get the most out of their employee experience, you need to stay on top of toxic work cultures that could be feeding into a negative overall experience. Here are three common signs of negative work culture – and how to fix them.

1. Excessive overtime and workloads are considered ‘normal’

A recent report on overtime in Australia found that across all forms of employment, Aussies work an average of 5.1 hours of unpaid overtime every week. That represents a total value of overtime in the national economy of more than $130 billion – and the figure is only rising each year.

Overtime is a fact of life in some industries, and taking on extra workloads is sometimes a necessity. But if excessive overtime and workloads are more often the rule rather than the exception, alarms should be ringing.

Thankfully, as with most business issues, you can tackle productivity and performance issues with communication. Speak to your staff about why they feel overtime and extra workloads are normalised in the workplace. From there, you can define strategies to overcome them. One option may be hiring extra staff, while hitting targets despite being down a co-worker could be rewarded through a workplace recognition system.

2. Problem behaviours are more common than not

‘Problem’ behaviours can very easily transform into ‘toxic’ habits if not monitored – and addressed – from the beginning. No matter a person’s skills or aptitude to juggle various tasks, it is ultimately their behaviour at work that will determine whether they are a good long-term fit.

A few common behaviours that crop up in businesses with a negative work culture include:

  • Excessive absenteeism: Sure, if an employee is sick or needs to take leave for a personal matter then that is completely acceptable. But if patterns start to emerge where one or more employees regularly takes leave, especially during busy periods or times when group meetings are booked, then it could be cause for concern.
  • Employee cliques: Team camaraderie is fantastic for generating wellbeing and creating a positive work environment. But when that camaraderie deviates into small-group ‘cliques’, issues can crop up. Whether they intend to or not, workplace cliques can make others feel left out, and if left unaddressed can even feed into bullying behaviours.
  • Managerial favouritism: Favouritism can rear its head in even the friendliest workplaces. So be cautious of spending too much time with one or more of your employees. Nothing destroys productivity faster than people who don’t feel they are treated equally by their superiors.

3. Employees have a negative attitude towards management

You want your best people to stick around, and that starts with being an attentive manager. Don’t confuse autonomy with letting staff run free. Even your smartest employees want to have a positive working relationship with their manager.

A common mistake is managers who fail to find a balance in their management style. At one end of the spectrum is micromanagement, where you nit-pick over every part of a person’s job to the point of actually doing their job for them. This disrespects your employee’s ability to perform even basic tasks and can quickly spiral out of control. On the other end, not enough management can have a negative impact on the entire business – if you aren’t monitoring your team’s output, how can you be sure everyone is striving towards the same goals?

How can you create a positive work culture?

It won’t happen overnight, but turning a negative workplace into a positive one is possible:

  • Keep the manager’s door open.
  • Make your vision statement easily accessible.
  • Appreciate your employees. A reward and recognition system could be the ideal solution.
  • Seek positive attributes in new hires.
  • Get employees involved in the company’s daily operations.
  • Review your workplace’s culture – at least monthly – with interactive brainstorming sessions.

To get our bi-monthly Handpicked selection of blogs, ideas and stories for business success click here, and join us in the conversation on LinkedIn.

To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today.