Updated: May 17, 2021
You’ve worked there a while, and something just doesn’t feel right. You are considering leaving although cannot put your finger on exactly why. You are not alone, according to a Totaljobs survey 35% of employees are considering leaving because they don’t feel they are in the right environment and don’t have strong relationships at work.
Here are some of the signs that you could be working in a toxic working environment –
Things are either not communicated or poorly communicated. You are told what to do not asked for your opinion or included in any decision making. You find out that extremely important information has not been told to you which gets you into hot water. Don’t get me wrong, in a busy working environment mistakes and gaps in communication can happen although it should not be the norm. If you find that it is happening more than not, then it’s a clear sign that something is broken in the communication strategy. Also, are you being communicated company goals and being included in company-wide communication from the senior leadership team? If the company strategy is being made clear and communicated well to all levels of the team then that would be a sign of a good environment.
Lack of Trust
The leadership team or your co-workers have given you reasons to not trust them. For example, poor decision making, manipulative behaviour, punishment to others, they lie, they hide information or dismiss your ideas, opinions, and feelings. A level of trust is required for you to be happy in your workplace, you should be comfortable enough to speak to your line manager and have a transparent conversation.
You have been working extremely hard, putting in overtime, helping new trainees above and beyond your job role and there are no thanks for it. It has now become the norm and expected of you to keep working at this rate. In the workplace, we are often asked to work above and beyond to get the job done, especially as the workforce gets smaller and more responsibility is given out. If this is the case, then you deserve, as a human being, to feel appreciated. It doesn’t cost much to make people feel like they are valued. What matters is that someone cares enough to make sure you do feel appreciated for what you do.
You Don’t Relate to Anyone
You don’t feel like you have a friend or can relate to anyone in the workplace and everyone seems to be ‘out for themselves’. There is no team spirit and the gossip culture is extremely negative, it seems to be all about the ‘he said she said’ and less about celebrating success and backing people up. No one has a clue who you are outside work and no one seems to care.
Goal setting doesn’t get done or 1-2-1 meetings with your manager are moved so many times that it feels like your manager is doing it because they have to and not because they want to. There is no conversation about your motivations and what you want. You aspire to grow or professionally develop and there doesn’t seem to be a desire to help you to do this. They can’t of course give you opportunities that aren’t there, although they can help you to prepare for future positions by helping you improve your skills. You matter.
Excusing Bad Behaviour
There are people in your team or part of the company that seem to have the ‘halo effect’. No matter what they do there are no consequences to their actions. Racist or discriminatory remarks, they affect the workload for others, make others feel uncomfortable or unhappy although they continue to be awarded or even worse promoted.
Rapid Voluntary Turnover
People are leaving, voluntarily. People that you thought would never leave have left the company and you speak to many people in the team that are looking for other jobs and management are unaware. The average voluntary turnover rate in the UK is 13% if your workplace is much higher than this then there is a culture problem. That being said, it is also not necessarily healthy if no one ever leaves because management are happy with the status quo.
You Feel Burnt Out
Your feelings have changed. You came into the company so enthusiastic and now you can barely get out of bed in the mornings, feel unmotivated and frankly exhausted about the thought of anything. You feel undervalued, unheard and feel broken. You may even cry uncontrollably or have increased anger and irritability. We recently wrote an article on how to know if you or your employees are burnt out which you can read here. Being burnt out can seriously affect your mental health and lead to illness so if this is how you are feeling then speak to someone you trust or your local GP. Do not let it go on.
You are likely to be reading this article because your gut is telling you that it is not the right place for you and that it is a toxic working environment. From my experience, a lot has to do with the relationship with your direct manager, your team and the wider company ideology.
Remember that you matter and you are not your work. Something needs to change.
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