Struggling with a toxic workplace? Poor working conditions are devastating for a business. Here’s how your company can move towards a better work culture.
Do you look forward to going to work every day? Are staff meetings exciting and engaging with active and enthusiastic participation? Is there a shared, collective vision that invigorates the entire office? Does everyone feel heard and supported?
If this describes your work culture, you probably don’t need leadership training. But if you’re reading this wishing you could work with a connected and inspired team, the right leadership training program can catalyze a positive shift in your work culture.
Maybe people at work are not communicating openly, resulting in an environment where confusion is the norm. Or maybe the lack of communication is the least of your worries at work. You feel burned out and stressed and unappreciated. Even though the company brings everyone together for team building exercises and conferences, when the trust fall is over, nothing has actually changed.
At MacklinConnection, we’ve spent over 30 years developing a system to help companies develop an engaging work environment focused on the well-being of all employees. We’ve seen firsthand how a positive work culture built on trust and communication can improve all aspects of a business.
We believe it is possible for every company to be something employees feel excited and proud to be a part of. Here we’ll discuss why work culture is fundamental to a company’s success and how a positive work environment is created.
Work culture is a matter of life and death - literally. Studies have demonstrated that hierarchical leadership strategies and toxic work environments are linked to an increased disease and death rate.
A high-stress, cutthroat work culture isn’t just bad for your health. It also creates apathy. When workers are subjected to pressure and fear at work, they disengage over time.
Disengagement is linked to higher rates of people not showing up for work, work-related accidents, and errors. Additionally, companies with disengaged employees experience lower productivity and profitability.
Toxic work cultures also lead to greater employee turnover. The Great Resignation continues to leave businesses scrambling for staff. A company can no longer afford to tolerate poor employee retention.
For example, fast-food chains, notorious for poor working conditions and pay rates, are facing an unprecedented labor shortage. Because quick-service restaurants can’t retain employees, they’ve had to reduce operating hours and cut back on menu items. Despite offering higher salaries, fast food chains have been unable to meet hiring demands.
On the other hand, companies that value employees and establish optimal working conditions have no problem with retention and continue to see marketplace growth. Airbnb continues to dominate the vacation rental space but does not compromise employee satisfaction to get results. The company’s mission statement is to “help people belong anywhere,” and this extends into how Airbnb treats its employees.
Built on collaboration and wellbeing, the company’s work culture emphasizes the importance of a work life balance for employees - even the office feels like a vacation! Airbnb’s headquarters are designed to mimic rental homes you can find on the app. Instead of conference rooms, employees can choose to work in spaces like Airstream trailers and log cabins. Everyone is encouraged to move their desks around each day in order to meet and collaborate with different people. Airbnb has no official president, so any employee can use the “President’s Room” - a restored 1918 office space.
While every company might not be able to craft a vacation-style office space, Airbnb’s work culture goes beyond the office aesthetics (the physical space is just a reflection of the company’s values).
Employee feedback emphasizes the impact Airbnb’s commitment to a positive work culture has on the company. According to one employee, “Commitment, dedication and innovation is incredible at Airbnb. Everyone works together to build a trusted community and sees any mistakes along the way as an opportunity to grow and learn. Such an enriching work environment!” When asked why they loved working for Airbnb, another employee commented, “Culture, benefits, work life balance, wonderful people, and a mission that lines up well with my personal values."
These days, a company built on the well-being of its employees is going to do significantly better than one that treats its employees like another cog in the machine. Airbnb has achieved unprecedented success in its industry since its 2008 launch. Meanwhile, fast food chains can’t keep their restaurants open. While no company is perfect, and there are always ways to evolve, treating employees with dignity and respect is going to pay off much more than taking advantage of them.
In order to combat the Great Resignation and create better work environments, there needs to be a societal change in how we do business. Through experiencing the pandemic together in the last couple of years and learning how to adapt to a new way of working it has become clear that we can’t just go back to the way things used to be pre-2020.
Toxic work environments characterized by hierarchical management strategies and intense working conditions are no longer going to be tolerated by employees and can jeopardize a company’s standing in the marketplace.
We are on the brink of a new world where the well-being of all workers is prioritized. And this transition to a positive work culture is better for all aspects of a business - including the bottom line. However, a healthy workplace is not built on benefits. Studies show happiness is the key factor in employee engagement and productivity, and employees would rather have a positive work culture than material incentives like higher pay or bonuses.
So how is a positive work culture created?
Research has identified several factors in establishing a healthy work environment:
Ultimately, cultivating empathy in the workplace is the key to transforming work culture - and an organization’s leaders must be the example. In order for a shift to occur in a company’s work culture, leadership must adopt a more compassionate, humane approach to set the tone for the organization.
Dysfunction in the workplace is often the result of people not seeing each other as people. Instead, you might have already created stories in your head about how someone is or how they will react, without actually getting to know them. When you view interactions as transactional, it is easier to slip into toxic behaviors, like yelling, dismissing others, or making unreasonable demands.
Through leadership training, you can develop the skills you need to establish genuine relationships in the workplace - beyond impersonal, transactional encounters. When you commit to seeing the inherent value in everyone you interact with - beyond what they can offer you - an opportunity is created for an authentic relationship built on empathy.
The right leadership training program will offer you insight into how you can shape an environment at work where people feel safe to contribute ideas and enjoy collaborating with each other. Through leadership training, you can learn to really listen to others and gain insight on how to communicate effectively, which is the foundation for creating meaningful connections and building successful teams.
At MacklinConnection, the foundational principle behind our workshop is connection. We know learning how to develop real connections ignites change in a company. When employees feel supported and coworkers genuinely care about each other, a better environment is created for everyone. Our method gets right to the heart of the problem of a dysfunctional workplace and gives you the tools you need to build sustainable teams that thrive.
Whether you are already in a leadership role, or looking to influence a more positive environment in your workplace, we are here to help you create a work environment everyone brags about. To learn more about one of our upcoming leadership workshops or how we can set up a course for your whole organization, schedule a consultation with one of our instructors.