Is your organisation toxic?

Is your organisation toxic?


  • Date: Thursday 26th August 2021
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Alarming research released by online printing firm Instantprint revealed that 70% of their employees had worked in a tox organisation at some point in their career. On the back of recent negative publicity for the culture at Brewdog this is clearly a call for business leaders to examine their culture and ask their workforce how they perceive the environment and nature of relationships with colleagues and managers.

The need to check views and engagement of your team is further highlighted by a finding in the research that 56% of employees would leave a job if the culture was toxic. The percentage was higher for women with 60% saying they would leave if the culture was inappropriate whereas amongst men the figure was 52%.

Indicators of a toxic culture

Key indicators that a culture is toxic are:

  • Bullying
  • Passive aggressive communications
  • Cliquey behaviour
  • Blatant favouritism for certain colleagues by those within a more senior role
  • Gossip and rumours
  • Lack of clarity or poor communication around projects and outcomes

For men the biggest negative in the workplace was bullying, whereas for women it is passive aggressive communication followed by cliques.

Some industries were shown to be more toxic than others with marketing, PR and advertising the worst for toxic cultures. The least toxic was found to be science and pharmaceuticals followed by property and construction.

There was also geographical variation with Newcastle achieving the dubious award of most toxic city to work in whereas Southampton was the least toxic city to work.

What can leaders do if they are concerned their culture is toxic?

  • Review your values – are they fit for purpose following the pandemic?
  • Check that your leaders role model your values
  • Put your values at the centre of business communications and performance management processes
  • Establish clear goals, direction and vision for the future of the company
  • Assess if toxic behaviour is addressed by managers
  • Encourage positive and professional communication at all times
  • Regularly survey the workforce to measure if your actions are positively impacting on your culture

Source: Gavin Parrott


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