Toxic company culture normalises stress and leads to a three times greater risk of depression. Luckily, employers are becoming increasingly attuned to the fact that the long term success of a business depends on the happiness and health of its employees, and so we’re seeing increasing effort and investment into creating a culture in which people thrive. 

How do we fix a problem when we don’t know what we’re looking for?

t’s hard to spot toxic company culture when you’re in it (and probably unintentionally perpetuating it), so we’ve put together a list of 7 telltale signs that your company culture needs a revamp:

  1. There are no core values: If a company doesn’t have clearly communicated values, chances are the only value is profit, regardless of what that means for the employees. Having clearly defined values is essential to guide behaviour at every level of a company. 

  2. Disregard for work/life boundaries: If it’s commonplace to expect employees to be reachable and working outside of their stated working hours, and there’s little or no respect for when an employee says they can’t do something at a certain time, this is a sure sign that something isn’t right. 

  3. Pervasive fear of failure or rejection: If employees don’t feel secure and encouraged to share and try new ideas, it’s a sign that company culture isn’t fostering creativity. This not only frustrates individuals but also diminishes the quality of the company’s work overall. 

  4. Inappropriate feedback style: When a mistake is made, it’s never appropriate to humiliate or shame an employee, especially publicly. This issue feeds into the previous point, as this sort of reaction to someone’s work will naturally lead them to be increasingly cautious. If this is something that happens regularly, there’s a lot of work to be done on company culture from the ground up. 

  5. Communication breakdowns: Read more about what that looks like here.

  6. Negative office gossip: When a company’s culture is toxic, its employees will often get fixated on negative work and office gossip, both at work and at home. If you notice this in yourself and your team members, it’s not a sign to be ignored as it’s a clear sign that the toxic culture is impacting mental health.

  7. High employee turnover: This is a big (and quite obvious) one. If a company has poor employee retention, there’s obviously an issue somewhere with one or all of the above. 

Do any of these ring a bell? It can be uncomfortable to recognise that your company might be lacking when it comes to company culture, but the first step is always acknowledging the issue. If you’d like to discuss our tailored company culture workshops, get in touch with or call 020 4524 4222.