Strong business culture is critical to closing the deal in today's job market, where candidates have the upper hand. Not only that, but a winning culture boosts employee engagement, resulting in improved employee retention and productivity. Your culture can either be your greatest asset or your worst liability. The key is to be on the lookout for symptoms of bad workforce culture and seek to change it.
What is a Bad Workforce Culture?
Consider a plant in a bad environment; it will struggle to thrive and eventually perish. That's essentially a metaphor for bad workforce culture. It stops employees from thriving, and while it (probably) won't kill them, it won't bring out the best in them, and they'll eventually look for work elsewhere.
On one level, negative work culture is institutional; policies and procedures are developed with the firm in mind, not the employees. It refers to antiquated work practices, such as a mandate to work from the office, that is incorrectly believed to maximize an employee's productivity. It entails incentives and perks that are inexpensive for the corporation yet difficult for employees to obtain. It entails treating employees as objects that serve the company's needs rather than as individuals with their own lives and families.
Workplace "illnesses" such as lack of team cohesion, increased absences and tardiness, decreased productivity, and high turnover is all symptoms of negative work culture.
Related: The 4 Signs of Bad Startup Culture
Tips for Dealing with Bad Workforce Culture
According to a 2019 study published by the American Psychological Association, workplace badness is not only on the rise, but it's also having a significant negative impact on employees' mental health. How? According to a study conducted by experts at Lund University in Sweden, poor working conditions have contributed to an increase in depression, substance misuse, and other health difficulties during the last 20 years. The final line is that terrible workplaces are unappealing and hazardous to one's health. But, short of quitting your job and looking for another (which may be the best option in some cases), there are some ways to reduce the stress that comes with working in bad workforce culture.
Here are 7 suggestions for dealing with a bad workforce culture.
1. Don't Lower Yourself to the Level of a Rude Colleague
To put it another way, don't encourage poor behavior. Don't bite the gossip bullet and jump in when your teammate starts ragging on your shared manager's proclivity for dropping out 45 minutes early (we know—tempting). it's Instead, gives a neutral remark and shift the conversation to a new topic. When they realize you're not going to join her in her slandering, they'll probably start seeking someone else to do it for them (aka with a receptive audience). Hopefully, your dismissal will also serve as a warning that her behavior is out of the ordinary. Alternatively, lovely. Alternatively, it could be admired.
2. Check Your Work Stress at the Door
It's one thing to periodically whine about how much work is killing you to your partner or roommate; it's quite another to make it the topic of every conversation. Make sure you're not talking about your job too much around your loved ones, and that most of your talks aren't about your devious coworker or micromanaging employer. Not only will the people around you be weary of hearing about your work difficulties (even if they genuinely want the best for you), but dwelling on things you can't control is unhealthy.
3. Look for positive coworkers.
Even if it appears that everyone you work with is negative in some way, chances are that there are a few others who share your feelings. If you notice a coworker dealing with similar problems, attempt to get a sense of how they're feeling without gossiping (which will just backfire). You'll be able to depend on each other and commiserate once you've established that you're on the same page.
4. Practicing Confrontation
If tensions have reached a breaking point, it's time to deal with the problem directly on. It can be tough to get out all of the things you want to say in a tense circumstance, so practice on a close friend who is familiar with the scenario beforehand. Running through your points in advance (your boss always expects too much of you, your superior always takes credit for your ideas, etc.) will help you remember your monologue, feel more confident, and be more effective in your delivery.
5. Establishing Trust
The issue with having a micromanager boss is that it pits two fundamental human neurological needs against each other: our need for autonomy and their need for control. Building trust is key to navigating this tense situation. You won't be able to have autonomy unless they have certainty. To acquire a micromanager's trust, you must supply them with the things they seek most: information, inclusion, and, yes, control. Refusing to do so, or being careless with the specifics, can only make things worse.
Here are some strategies to consider: To begin, try to anticipate their requirements. The more you know about their expectations, the more you'll be able to anticipate them and eliminate the need for them to micromanage. Second, speak clearly and frequently with them. This entails giving your supervisor regular updates as well as status and progress reports before he or she asks for them. Remember that this might be as simple as sending a daily email with a list of all your projects and their status, or CCing them when appropriate. Finally, do your best to follow their guidelines. You should tailor your work to their tastes and discover what quality markers your supervisor wants/needs before delivering on them. (This may also necessitate a self-evaluation to identify any trouble places that are keeping your supervisor from trusting you.)
6. Change Departments or Leave Your Job
Quitting your career in favor of one that is healthy for you isn't always an option due to unstable job markets and financial obligations. However, if you are able to contemplate seeking a new organization, it is worthwhile to do so. Even if now isn't the ideal moment to make a change, it's never a bad idea to keep your options open in the future by learning how to network. Whether you're stifled by the pandemic or an introvert who fears networking, here are some methods for expanding (or sustaining) your business network. It's important to note that quitting your firm doesn't always mean abandoning your job; sometimes simply changing departments or teams can be enough to get you out of a poor situation. If there's a department you'd like to work in, put out feelers to see if there's a spot for you. You may even make it look like your egotistical boss came up with the brilliant idea of swapping teams.
7. Find Stress-Relieving Activities Outside of Work
If quitting your job isn't a possibility right now, make sure your life outside of work is fulfilling—something you have more control over. This could entail having a venting session with a friend who works in a similar unpleasant job, taking up a relaxing pastime like yoga, or prioritizing self-care (a post-work bath, anyone?). The objective is to make sure that, even if your 9-to-5 is exasperating, you have something to look forward to when you leave each day.
Your company's culture isn't something that can be changed once and for all. Even after you've addressed these 7 solutions to bad workforce culture, you should check in on your company's culture on a regular basis to see where adjustments may be made. Measuring employee engagement and asking for input on a regular basis are two ways to assess the quality of your corporate culture. Remember that your efforts will be rewarded in the long term, so don't neglect your business culture obligations.