5 Workplace Culture Killers and What to Do About Them

Workplace culture is always a hot topic in leadership and professional development because it’s always relevant. Do it right, and you have better retention, stronger performance, and higher morale across the board. Let problems fester, and you run the risk of losing your top talent and damaging your brand reputation. 

Here are 5 workplace culture killers we’ve noticed, and steps leaders can take to cultivate a work environment where their teams can thrive.

 

  • Complacency

“My numbers are fine, so our work culture must be, too”: if this sounds familiar, it may be time to re-evaluate. According to Gallup data, only 2 in 10 employees surveyed felt closely connected to their company culture:

“Just 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day, and only 27% strongly agree that they believe in their organization’s values.”

The truth is, we don’t know if our culture is working for our teams until we deliberately and intentionally ask them for their feedback. A workplace culture analysis can help you identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities around how you articulate and practice your values as a leader, and as a team. An analysis helps you answer questions like:

 

  • Do your teams have a clear understanding of your mission, vision, and values?
  • Do they feel that the company and leadership teams embody those values?
  • Do they identify with those values?
  • Do they feel safe at work? 
  • Can they give examples of positive reinforcement they’ve received?
  • What do your teams prioritize when deciding to leave or remain in a position?

 

  1. Homogeneity 

Of course, you want your team to have things in common. Without some commonality, you can’t align. But too much “sameness” is a workplace culture killer for a number of reasons. It can lull you into a false sense of security. For example, if there’s too much agreement, or if forward movement happens too fast, your teams might not be challenging themselves. If too many people have the same ideas about what’s done well, you’re likely missing problems, red flags, or opportunities for growth.

 

To counter toxic homogeneity, be sure you are working toward an inclusive mindset that allows you to identify biases, learn where they’re rooted, and take measurable steps to correct them.

 

Countering homogeneity isn’t just about embracing diversity—although that is critical. When things feel stuck, leaders need to ensure they encourage new ways of thinking, problem-solving, and structuring workflows to avoid stagnation and keep things moving forward. 

 

  • Burnout 

Burnout is more than a feeling. According to the American Psychological Association,  companies without support systems that promote the well-being of their employees have higher turnover, lower productivity, and higher healthcare costs. Harvard Business Review reports that burnout has been included in the World Health Organization’s classification of diseases since 2019. Self-care does help alleviate some symptoms of burnout, but it’s a “band-aid solution” since burnout originates at work, not within the individual. 

 

What can leaders do? 

 

  • Educate themselves on the true causes of burnout, and take an honest look at where those causes show up in their teams, structures, and processes
  • Restructure or rebuild those processes in ways that break the cycle of burnout
  • Check in with their employees, and have solutions available if they mention feeling burned out or drained 

 

  • High Reactivity 

When it comes to your leadership and management style, you have a choice to be proactive or reactive. What’s the difference?

“Reactive management is when leaders respond to crises and issues as they arise. Proactive management means anticipating needs and challenges so that you and your team are prepared to overcome them.” 

 

There’s no way to anticipate every problem, but understanding common issues your team, company, and workplace faces is a good first step. More than likely, as you gather feedback from your team, you’ll learn what’s working well, and what isn’t. And there will almost always be some common threads. If that’s the case, there’s no need for reactive management. You can get in front of the problem with coaching, training, or modeling a solution after what’s worked for companies of a similar size and makeup. Automating workflows and processes can also lower your reactivity and streamline things, so operations don’t have to grind to a halt whenever there’s a problem or concern. 

 

  • Feedback Failures 

 

Gathering feedback. It’s a critical responsibility of effective leaders. But it doesn’t stop there. If we are taking time to gather feedback, it’s crucial to commit to implementing whatever reasonable changes you can make. Otherwise, it becomes apparent that concerns, questions, and ideas aren’t actively listened to. The results can range from infighting, to low productivity, to a higher turnover rate. And all of that fallout will negatively impact your bottom line, and your goals for your team. When it comes to feedback, ask yourself questions like these:

 

  • Are you spending enough time with your team members one-on-one?
  • Do you know what your employees want and need from you/from the workplace culture?
  • How long has it been since the last time you gathered feedback? 
  • How effectively was it implemented?

 

After you’ve done some self-reflection, invite your employees and team leaders into the conversation. See where the similarities are, where the gaps are, and where your biggest opportunities for growth are. When you’re committing to implementation as a team, it becomes much more feasible and attainable, which decreases the chances of getting stuck in a negative feedback loop.

Empower Your Team and Transform Your Workplace Culture!

Workplace culture is the backbone of successful organizations. By proactively addressing culture killers such as complacency, homogeneity, burnout, high reactivity, and feedback failures, you can foster an environment where your team thrives.

Ready to take action?

Schedule a call with us to explore our tailored solutions designed to transform your workplace culture. We offer expert guidance, training, and support to help you build a resilient, inclusive, and engaged team. Together, we’ll identify development opportunities and cultivate a culture that drives success and innovation.

Begin the journey to a thriving workplace today!

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