Warning Signs of a Toxic Work Environment by Corey Hubbard

We've all heard of toxic workplaces, but can you recognize one from the standpoint of a manager or owner? If you're looking for a job or currently employed, do you think that you would know what a toxic work environment looked like? Toxic workplaces are a reality of today's world, and there are some signs that you should look for to identify one. These are three of the most common ones that are relevant to a wide variety of industries.

High Turnover

If you're a manager overseeing several store locations or departments, you should be aware that high turnover is sometimes a warning sign of a toxic work environment. When people determine there's nothing they can do to make their work environment better, they often decide to leave. There are plenty of reasons for high turnover, but feeling unsafe or degraded is a big one. If you're seeing high turnover, definitely keep an eye on the store or department. You should also do some investigation into what might be causing the turnover. If you're a job applicant in a niche field, ask your colleagues what they've heard about a certain company. You should also listen and watch for signs during the interview that the store or department is experiencing high turnover. 

Conversations

It's normal to have group meetings or one-on-one conversations with your boss to work through problems, but if you feel any discomfort, you might be working in a toxic environment. Threats, hostile vocal tones, name-calling. and gossip are all common indicators of toxic workplaces. This is by no means all. Many things can be considered hostile or contributing to the toxic nature of a workplace.

Employees Experiencing Emotional Problems

Sure, you can have a colleague who is going through some kind of unrelated life turmoil, but if there are multiple people who are struggling with anxiety, depression or anger problems, you might be in a toxic work environment. If you're thinking about taking a job, pay attention to the body language of some of the other individuals in the office. You can also ask if you can meet some of the current employees. When you talk to them, see if they meet your enthusiasm or shy away from it. If the interviewer won't let you talk to the current employees, take it as a red flag that there might be morale problems that they don't want you to see.

Toxic work environments can be life-altering and negative, so it's best to identify them sooner rather than later. Also, if you're currently stuck in a toxic work environment, don't let someone convince you that it's all your fault. The sad fact is that convincing you that it's your fault is the only way that companies with major problems can keep employees.

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