‘Organisational culture’ is a term that is so often used in the business world, but I’m regularly left wondering whether people fully understand what it means. More importantly, I also ﬁnd that many underestimate just how vital it is to ensure the success of any growing enterprise.
First and foremost, the culture you set within an organisation will play a central role in whether your employees feel engaged. It doesn’t matter if you are working with one other person or 5,000 – if the culture isn’t right, you will end up running into serious problems.
For larger organisations, the way individuals, teams, divisions and entire companies interact with one another and with their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders contributes to what might be judged as that organisation’s ‘culture’.
Creating a positive workplace culture is likely to lead to better employee retention as those who feel a sense of belonging are less likely to leave an organisation. It is also good for an employer’s reputation, helping to attract new recruits and potentially improving productivity as employees encounter fewer obstacles in achieving their work goals.
I’ve seen ﬁrsthand how toxic team members can poison your team and be detrimental to business growth. Yet, too often, I often see small business owners take too long to take action when this occurs. These issues tend to start as small infractions which then snowball into major issues that can subsequently have a negative impact on the wider team. If you are a business owner or founder, it’s important to deal with these small infractions swiftly and not allow them to fester. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but not confronting the issues head on, can lead to much bigger problems in the future.
Recently, a client of mine had to ﬁre a toxic team member after many months of bad behaviour. She avoided dealing with the issues for so long that they became massive. Following the dismissal, several things came to light that have put the business into an extremely problematic situation. The team member’s toxicity seeped out, causing other team members to begin exhibiting some of the same behaviours. The client now has to manage the toxic environment that has been allowed to take hold and ﬁx all the issues caused by the fired team member. Avoidance didn’t work – it just made things worse.
If you have a toxic team member, I suggest taking the following steps:
The pandemic has changed organisational culture irreversibly, with many workplaces now enabling staff to work in a hybrid way, with some days spent in the office and some at home. However, while managing workplace culture remotely can be a challenge for managers, the fundamentals remain the same. Address issues promptly, set clear boundaries, document everything and lay out a clear pathway to change. If you do that others are more likely to follow you.
Daniella Genas is a business growth strategist, innovation expert, consultant and entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience. She launched Be the Boss to provide the comprehensive support that she felt was missing from the business support landscape.
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