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Turn around a toxic work culture

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HC Online | 04 Dec 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
High attrition rates, disengagement, rock-bottom morale – it’s the stuff of HR nightmares, and all are symptoms of a toxic work environment. How can HR turn it around?
  • Leanne Faraday-Brash | 23 Jul 2013, 06:31 PM Agree 0
    Can't disagree, particularly the reference to incompetent or negligent leadership but two other critical and necessary ingredients once you've done your research and know where your problems lie
    1) know that they have been enabled, promoted, incentivized because there was some organisational payoff for doing so whether because they were the darling of the clients or because the culprit was your best salesperson so be prepared to take a hit and
    2) act with courage even if you face IR fallout or risk bad publicity.
    Based on my 20 years as an org. psych to companies and government we tend to overestimate the risk of acting against toxic individuals and underestimate the risks and costs of doing nothing.
    We get the culture we deserve. We get the behaviour we're prepared to tolerate. No vulture cultures!!!
  • Bernie Althofer | 04 Dec 2013, 03:56 PM Agree 0
    In some cases there is a 'she'll be right' attitude when it comes to dealing the toxic people. It seems that in some cases, those charged with responsibility and accountability wash their hands of making the right decisions about actually managing the person or persons. They are unsure, lack the skills required to deal with the situation or the person, or in some cases, perceive that any decision they make will end in litigation so they just let the problem fester until it is front page news.

    Sometimes the long term damage being caused has to take priority over the short term financial gains or outcomes being achieved.

    The problem that develops when inertia rules or inaction occurs is the the 'toxic person' takes it as a sign that they are being given approval to continue along their merry way. It becomes even more difficult to deal with the situation when the person has managed to get them into a very senior position or senior decision maker, with the support of other senior people.
  • Isobel Lavin | 06 Dec 2013, 08:27 AM Agree 0
    Everything in this article rings true.

    The most toxic environment I've worked in was in fact in an HR team where the culprit was (and remains) the HR Director. Very senior, highly influential and charasmatic.

    To the "team" he led, he was toxic- aligned himself with the weakest, junior managers and influenced them to the point that the culture became well and truly entrenched.

    A true psychopath.

    With such authority at play, there was no choice but to leave.
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