2 min read

3 Ways You Might Be Unknowingly Contributing to a Toxic Workplace Culture

For employees, recognizing a bad company culture isn’t difficult. Their feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, unvalued, and unsupported serve as clear indicators. When employees experience these emotions, it’s a red flag that something is amiss within the organization.

Leaders may see the downstream effect of a negative culture in the workplace in various ways. They might see low productivity, high employee turnover rates, and a general low return on investment (ROI) for the organization.

Our VP of Sales and Solutions Architect Leader Phil Schrader discussed this topic with our friends at Culture Curated. Partners Season Chapman and Yuli Lopez shared several common ways they see leaders contributing to toxic workplace cultures.


#1 You’re Fostering an Environment of Disconnection

Yuli pinpointed siloes as a significant issue that impacts culture. “When there is poor work culture, you see it reflected in not enough connectivity between departments or peers. Siloes impact the way work is getting done.”

The lack of connectivity not only affects internal operations but also has a tangible impact on customer satisfaction and organizations’ bottom line: A Towers Watson study found that strong internal communication strategies can lead to a 47% higher return to shareholders compared to the least communicatively effective firms. 

According to Forbes, siloes are often a trickle-down effect of conflicted leadership.The #1 key to solving this problem that plagues most organizations and creates a toxic workplace culture? Transparent communication.

#2 - You Haven’t Defined Your Organization’s Core Identity

Season notes that as an organization evolves, defining its core identity is crucial. It boils down, she says, to “being honest about what you want, what you need, and what competencies and behaviors you need your employees to display.”

For example, while growth and innovation may have once defined a company, there may come a point when consistency and predictability become essential. If leaders fail to define this new season for their teams, results can be disjointed and a poor work culture results. With no clear sense of their organization’s purpose and identity, employees can struggle to connect their individual roles to the broader mission. This disconnect hampers motivation and engagement, ultimately affecting overall organizational performance.

Conversely, a well-defined core identity is the compass that guides an organization toward success. It aligns teams, fuels innovation, and ensures a cohesive, purpose-driven workforce.

#3 - You're Eroding Trust and Teamwork

Every organization goes through seasons where employees are “in the trenches,” so to speak, when the work is challenging and collaboration is a must. Season shares that in healthy organizations, employees jump in and work together. Believing in and removing obstacles for each other has a catalyzing effect on the team and the results.

However, where teams exhibit unhealthy competition, distrust, disengagement, or failure to communicate, a toxic work culture is born.

Leaders can unintentionally foster these negative conditions by withholding information, showing favoritism, being disorganized, and failing to recognize and support their teams. On the other hand, when leaders model the collaborative, encouraging spirit they want to see in employees, they positively shape team dynamics, building trust and nurturing motivation. 

How One Model Helps Create Healthy Organizational Culture

People Analytics is the answer to many culture challenges. The One Model People Analytics platform empowers HR leaders to effectively use their workforce data to understand and manage virtually every aspect of the employee experience.


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