What is the Cost of a Toxic Culture?

At a Glance:

1 in 5 employees have left a job at some point due to toxic culture (costing businesses over $44B per year).

Companies with strong culture tend to experience a 4x growth in revenue. Not to mention lower turnover, higher engagement, and stronger talent attraction.

● A clear and active DEI plan has become a priority for job seekers of today.

● The younger generations, who are the future of the workforce, agree that they don’t support companies that put profit and greed above doing what’s right.

● Companies that don’t make a sustained effort to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive will be negatively recognized as society is holding businesses to a higher standard.

● Since 58% of job seekers in the U.S. feel that company culture is more important than salary, any organization that neglects this realm will certainly feel the impact.

● Job turnover in companies with rich company cultures can be 3x lower than those without.

What Makes A Thriving  Workplace

Setting an intention around fostering an inclusive culture is key. An inclusive culture change starts with leadership having the right mindset, demonstrating inclusive behaviors, creating and living to the values, processes, and systems that uphold that inclusivity, and driving accountability at all levels in the organization. Employees want to see that what you say is what you do. In an inclusive workplace the  visible components “what we say” should be reinforced by the less visible elements, which are “what we do.”  You might say that you value diversity but if women or POC or those that are disabled are marginalized, not in leadership, don’t have a seat at the table, or other similar scenarios, then you really don’t. Or you may say that you value collaboration and teamwork, but if the incentive process rewards rainmakers that produce at all costs, then it undermines the desire for people to collaborate. 

How to Promote a Thriving Culture  at  Work

Fostering a thriving culture within an organization involves creating an environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and fulfilled. Here are five key strategies to cultivate a thriving culture:

Be Clear and Concrete

When you decide that you want to shift your culture, it’s important to be really clear about what you’re looking to do, why you’re looking to do it, and how you’ll know that you’ve accomplished it. It’s also important to be transparent – even when things aren’t looking great. Being honest about your commitment to an inclusive and thriving culture, and the successes and challenges faced is key to engaging your team.Employees can look around the company and see what the data tells you. And as we know, perception is reality.

    Crystalize Your North Star:

    Establish a clear vision and set of values that guide the organization’s mission and define its identity. Communicate the purpose and values regularly to employees and ensure alignment with day-to-day operations. When employees understand, align with and believe in the organization’s purpose, they are more likely to feel connected and motivated to contribute to its success.

    Focus on Employee Well-being:

    Prioritize employee well-being by offering support programs and resources that promote physical, mental, and emotional health. Implement initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, and access to counseling services. Additionally, encourage work-life balance and provide opportunities for personal development and growth. When employees feel supported and cared for, they are more likely to thrive in both their professional and personal lives.

    What Gets Measured Gets Done:

    But be sure you are measuring the right things. Aggregate level data can mask issues or patterns that are evident if you dig into the details. Often when we look at company wide data it may appear diverse, but if you dig in you find that the top ranks are filled with straight, white men or that performance ratings are skewed to give white people disproportionately higher ratings. When HR helps managers look at these types of things, you can then truly have a thoughtful conversation and start to move the needle. Each organization is unique, and you can’t just “copy” another company’s culture and expect it to work at your place. Ping pong and foosball lead to innovation and growth in one company, not because they have a place to let off steam but rather because their environment and philosophies allow play to be a part of how work gets done. If you are frowned at or penalized for not being at your desk “working” then you’ll never actually engage in those things. 

    Understand What Makes Culture Tick:

    A strong culture is not confined to the bounds of an office. A strong culture is not measured by the strength of the organization’s leader. A strong culture is not defined by written rules, but rather by a genuine interest in creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere that’s embodied by the people. As a leader, you want to create a safe place for people at all levels to have their voices heard – so it starts with modeling behaviors like active listening, not jumping in first, not cutting people off, not ignoring voices that are not sharing mainstream points of view. Creating a safe, inclusive culture also allows for people to  take risks, make mistakes, and share those learnings. That’s how you are able to promote that a thriving culture  is more than a saying, it’s a way of being at your company.

    Making an inclusive workplace takes intentional and consistent effort. Take the time to build connections, relationships and trust with your employees both on your team and across the organization. Trust is the foundation for people to feel that you really care about them, their thoughts, their actions and this is done by being consistent, by having their back, actively supporting and sponsoring, and also being vulnerable and authentic by sharing things about your personal and professional journey. When there is trust people feel safe to bring their authentic self into the workplace and only then can they truly shine.