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Toxic Culture in the Workplace

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Toxic Culture in the Workplace

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It’s that time of year again. Time to be jolly and happy but what if your workplace is anything but!

As most prepare to spend some time with family and friends over the festive season, some employees can’t wait to escape their place of employment. A toxic culture in the workplace is not a nice place to be, but they are becoming more common than we all would like.

Why? I think we are witnessing a major shake-up of the corporate sector & general business as we know it. Yes, we have all heard about globalisation and the rise of technology but we are now seeing the fallout of when traditional organisations can’t or don’t know how to compete in this new economic world. Management can’t help themselves but to kick their major asset, their people!

The traditional way of doing business for these organisations has always been to focus on the bottom line and push your people to work longer and harder. There is a desire from management to pursue short-term profits at any expense, including the viability of the organisation itself. It is common place to hear of ridiculous CEO remuneration packages that offer no benefit to the longevity of an organisation’s mission.

When you walk into a toxic workplace culture, I guarantee you will feel it. People are rushing around, people look and feel angry, there are high levels of absenteeism, employees are disengaged, anxiety is high and many leave due to burnout. The human resource department is usually shut down by management and people are looked upon as costs rather than assets. If anyone disagrees with management, you are likely to be shown the door. You don’t have to look far to see individual stories of bullying in the news. Personal agendas start to dominate the workplace and turnover is sky high.

It is easy to spot these organisations with transparency becoming evident in internet chat rooms and with the arrival of websites like Glassdoor to allow prospective employees to see what lies beyond the brand of the organisations they may be thinking of working for.

There is a flip side to this however. While traditional organisations scramble to remain relevant in this new economic world, new organisations are emerging that look and feel very different. These organisations are growing rapidly and commonly their leaders in management come from Generation X or Generation Y pedigree. These organisations are recruiting the best talent that the market place can offer them, providing work-life balance and inviting people to contribute their ideas beyond their immediate roles.

If you find yourself in a toxic workplace, you must devise a career exit strategy. There is hope beyond the toxic door but you need to be proactive, take control of your own career development before your well-being is compromised.

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