As a Human Resource professional, you will come across many such instances where you will have to let go of some really talented employees. While some of them may leave for valid reasons, with some of them you will have a hard time figuring out their abrupt decision to quit!
One of the reasons behind the sudden increase in the attrition rate of your company could be the negativity employees associate with the workplace. It is possible that your organisation is now tagged as a ‘bad place to work at’!
Given the prevalence of social media, it is easy for employees to make or break the reputation of an organisation. All it would take is a single post or tweet to tarnish your image… enough to be judged by people who don’t even work for you!
Let’s look at some telltale signs that you may be ‘perceived’ as a toxic workplace and how to get it back on track.
Signs You Are Tagged As A ‘Bad Place to Work At’!
Here are some of the signs that might give your company the reputation of being a toxic workplace!
1. Caught In The ‘Hire-And Fire’ Cycle:
If your company is always on the hunt for the same important roles in management or leadership every six months, you might earn a bad reputation. It suggests that the leadership is fickle and unable to decide upon the qualities and competencies they are looking for in a candidate.
It could also be owing to bad internal culture, making retention impossible, no matter how talented the employees are. Additionally, owing to the flighty nature of the top management, your company may come across as one that doesn’t deliver on its promises!
2. Absence of Work-Life Balance:
Your email is jam-packed almost every day with employees asking for casual leaves or are frequently calling in sick. This is a clear indication of them feeling overburdened. Spending 40 hours or more at the office can take a severe toll on your employees mental and physical well-being.
According to Optum, a leading provider of employee assistance programmes to corporates, around 46% of the workforce in Indian organisations suffer from some or the other kind of stress.
Most of these employees cited overwhelming productivity demands and extreme work pressure as the reasons behind their stress. It is cruel to deny an optimum work-life balance and instead set unrealistic expectations from your team; this, in turn, will only lead to increased employee absenteeism and a toxic environment.
Now, imagine these employees meeting their social circles and talking about it…. The person they meet may not work for you, but now they already have a perception of your organisation!
2. Confusion and Chaos:
If people often come asking for resolutions to a problem that majority of them face, which means there is an absence of clear communication.
There are cases of frustration amongst employees as they are often reprimanded for not meeting deadlines or goals, not because of a loophole at their end, but because their superior failed to properly communicate what he/she expects out of them.
If such instances repeat often, it is a major red flag and an indication for you to have a one-on-one discussion with the leaders to reach a solution.
3. Unsafe for Women:
Gender disparity at workplaces is a serious concern in India.
According to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index, India ranks 108, behind neighbours China and Bangladesh, primarily due to less participation of women in the economy and low wages.
Your organisation should be one of the flag bearers of women empowerment and equal treatment of women. However, if there is a falling female to male ratio or fewer women applying for open positions at your workplace, chances are you have an ‘unsafe environment’ for women to work at.
4. Bad Hiring Strategies Or Follow-Ups:
A toxic workplace makes everyone feel lethargic and unproductive and even affects the way the HR department functions.
You might feel frustrated with the pressure to fill an open position and the failure to find a suitable fit for the same most of the time.
Even after conducting interviews, you might not feel the need to send a rejection email informing them why he/she is not the right candidate for your organisation.
This puts you in a bad light for the probable candidate who has never worked with you. While we agree that it is their need for a job which led them to apply to your organisation; you cannot negate the fact that they did invest their time, effort and resources to try to be apt for your organisation. The least you could do is send them an email informing they didn’t make the cut.
5. Lack of Team Spirit:
A great team is at the core of every organisation.
In the words of Steve Jobs,
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
Lack of team spirit in an organisation does much more than bring down team morale – it can make people around feel dull and depressed. If your employees are not excited about working together and do not share same beliefs, there is a possibility of absence of good team spirit.
6. Discontentment and Disengagement:
There is a sense of discontentment among the employees. There is constant gossip about the inefficiency of management in handling critical matters of bad conduct.
If the employees have no clue about any significant action being taken or the conduct of the person questioned doesn’t improve, then some may expect the conduct is viewed as acceptable by the organisation.
Employees are not on the same page as the company and do not feel aligned with the company goals, mission, vision. Employee engagement is a vital part of the company culture and disengaged employees are directly related to a toxic workplace.
How To ‘Detox’ & Rebuild Your Reputation As A Great Place To Work At!
It is certainly a downer to notice all of the above going on at your office, but fret not! There are ways to tackle it positively and feature on the list of irresistibly great workplaces! Read on to avoid being tagged as a toxic workplace!
1. Able Leadership:
People look up to leaders who lead and not command. Get people working with able leaders who mentor them and understand their needs. This will help them see the bright side even if they are feeling let down, for starters.
2. Mistakes Are Welcome!
Your employees will never grow if they are scared to make mistakes, which can be devastating for company’s growth as there will be no innovation, but only the performance of routine tasks.
People are not afraid of failure, they’re afraid of blame.
Great organizations believe it’s okay to make mistakes and looking for perfection in everything can hinder the mental wellness of its people.
This, of course, doesn’t mean encouraging a culture with lack of accountability. Make employees accountable for their tasks, by giving them autonomy in attaining them. If they have the freedom to execute and try things, without worrying about failures… chances are they will work with care and accountability.
3. Loosen Those Reins!
Talking about autonomy and accountability… Isn’t that just the best way to work? Stay out of their way and give your employees exactly what they need to work! Autonomy is a great asset and employees attach a lot of importance to it. When you start doing so, you would be surprised at the great results!
Hide nothing at all from your team. There should be complete transparency and employees should be able to feel it around them. You become credible and gain the confidence of your employees by doing so, which is very important.
5. Improve Communication:
Upper management should be aware of their communication methods with the employees. Offering specific feedback about their work helps them stay connected with their superiors and there is lack of confusion.
Also, employees feel valued when they are given positive reinforcement and shown how their work directly contributes towards the success of the company.
6. Strike A Balance:
An HR manager has to constantly strike a balance between different variables for an organisation to function effectively. From workload to diversity, to power dynamics and schedule. You have to juggle it all and bring out the best of the existing resources.
7. Improve Employee Recognition Programs:
A great employee recognition program works wonders to boost employee morale and productivity! There isn’t a better sign of a great place to work at, than happy and engaged employees!
Some of the best workplaces around the world have reached there because they follow some great policies. These policies are for the benefit of its people who in turn make an office a ‘Great place to work at’! Make sure your Employees feel the same every day they walk in to work!