By Hollie Simpson

In the past year, one in five Australians has taken time off work because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy and unfortunately, these statistics double among those who consider their workplace to be mentally unhealthy.

As an employer, it’s your job to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to the environment where your employees spend their working hours. In this article, we dive into the impacts of negative culture in the workplace, the signs to look out for, and what employers can do to rectify the problem.

Let’s get into it…

Are the vibes off?

There are many signs that a workplace has developed toxic traits and become an unsafe working environment. When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, 29 per cent of Australian workers reported that they feel a high amount of stress about their jobs often.

Employees tend to describe toxic workplaces in five main ways: non-inclusive, disrespectful, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive. Disengaged staff often means subpar work and replacing an employee can cost up to twice the employee’s annual salary.

Not only does negative workplace culture have a human cost, but according to a Medicare Private report, it also costs the Australian economy more than $14 billion per year in lost productivity, recruiting and onboarding processes, and increased staff turnover.

What can I do to fix it?

  • Accept and take responsibility: you can’t begin to repair a problem like toxic workplace culture without exploring how the conduct of managers and leaders have had in creating in the situation. It’s important to remember that accepting and taking responsibility will go a long way in restoring trust with your team.
  • Communicate and observe: it’s not enough to just have open and honest communication, you should also keep an eye out for changes in behaviour or core elements of a working relationship. This will help create a sense of mutual trust, support, and a successful, positive working environment.
  • Re-establish a sense of security: start with talking with your team to help alleviate any existing anxieties, listen to your people with compassion, and never downplay any concerns raised. Speak openly about policies and any changes you’re planning to implement.
  • Get your team on board: repairing your office culture might begin with a plan, but nothing will change without having everyone on board. You should encourage your employees to ask questions, provide their feedback, and give suggestions to improve the plan. When your team members are kept in the loop, they feel valued, respected, and trusted and in turn, this boosts morale, restores unity, and improves overall confidence.
  • Follow through: all the above will mean nothing unless you follow through with your plans. There’s nothing more deflating to employees who’ve been forward about their experiences and feelings to see nothing change.

 How enableHR can help?

We believe HR should be simple. Simple enough for you to run your business confidently. Inside enableHR is everything you need to manage the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding to managing your people and termination. If you’d like to see enableHR in action, contact us to learn more about how we can help your business.

Hollie Simpson is the People & Culture Coordinator at FCB; enableHR’s sister company. Hollie is passionate about creating meaningful HR initiatives that add value to our people and our company’s culture. In addition to her role in HR, Hollie heads up FCB’s Social Committee and is always on the lookout for new ways to engage and connect with colleagues.