Toxic Workforce

Most of us spend the majority of our time at work. Hopefully that time is productive and positive, but what happens when it isn’t? Could your organization be a toxic environment? What defines a toxic work environment and how does it affect a company’s bottom line, its employees, and its productivity?

A toxic workplace is simply defined as an unhealthy and damaging environment. Toxic behavior can be initiated at all levels in an organization, from top management on down. This can cause long term problems for employees ranging from personal health issues to more serious consequences:

Individual Impact

  • Decreased job satisfaction
  • Physical problems; loss of sleep, increase / decrease of weight, high blood pressure
  • Mental health problems; depression, paranoia
    Increased stress, potentially leading to violence
    Potential increased use of alcohol or drugs

Toxic behavior not only hurts the employee, it undeniably extends to the organization:

Organizational Impact

  • Perpetuating behavior (one “rotten apple” can spoil the batch)
  • Increased sick days
  • High employee turnover
  • Negative word-of-mouth
  • Communication issues between management and employees

The best way to address a toxic work environment and prevent these negative results is to identify the causes and behaviors that are behind it, and to remedy the situation before it gets out of control.

Toxic Signs

If left unchecked, a toxic workforce can greatly hurt both employees and the organization. It is critical that the organization have policies and procedures in place to deal with the issues or behaviors that are causing or contributing to the toxic workplace and that they take the necessary steps to enforce these policies.

Toxic employees can use subtle, not quite “breaking the rules”, or more bold ways to show their toxic nature through negative body language and demeaning behavior including:

  • Sighing
  • Rolling their eyes
  • Snickering
  • Crossing their arms
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Gossiping
  • Assigning unflattering nicknames to co-workers
  • Chuckling at another’s input
  • Dismissing or ignoring the contributions of others
  • Condescending behavior
  • Grumbling and complaining
  • Sarcasm
  • Assigning blame to others

Make sure management and HR departments are aware of these toxic signs and that they take the necessary steps to stop these behaviors.

Want to Learn More About the Impacts of Toxic Behavior?

Timothy Dimoff can help your organization understand how to identify toxic behavior and what to do when toxic behavior has already reared its’ ugly head in your organization. Contact Tim or call him at 330-730-3524 to schedule the Tim’s Talk The Impact of a Toxic Workforce on Your Employees.

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