How to Change a Negative Work Culture

By March 16, 2022 October 4th, 2022 No Comments
How to turn a negative work culture into a positive work culture


Creating a healthy workplace culture is important for promoting teamwork and friendships among employees, increasing efficiency in the workplace and allowing workers to feel valued. In this article, we’ll point out some negative work environment examples and indicators, then discuss ways to improve negative work culture.

What Is Negative Culture?

A negative or toxic work culture refers to a business environment in which employees aren’t respected, heard or valued — this results in an overall lack of teamwork, communication and productivity.

What Causes a Toxic Work Environment?

In a negative work environment, an employer typically doesn’t show interest in their employees — they merely view them as workers that benefit the company rather than real people with needs, families and personal lives outside of work. This lack of regard and empathy quickly leads to a toxic work environment.

Signs You’re Part of a Negative Work Environment

A negative work culture can be identified by a few prominent characteristics. Here are some things that create a negative work environment:

  • Gossip: A negative work environment often results in division and distrust among employees, resulting in rampant office gossip.
  • Lack of values: Core values are the heart of the workplace — they demonstrate positive leadership and set an example for workers. In a negative work environment, these values are either nonexistent or neglected by the employer.
  • Dysfunction: In a negative workplace, there’s constant dysfunction and confusion. Rules and policies are unclear, employees are unsure of their responsibilities and many are left out of the loop. This often stems from a lack of proper training for new employees.
  • Playing favorites: In a negative work environment, employers tend to favor certain employees over others. Less favored employees do not receive the same level of treatment or respect.
  • High turnover rate: High turnover can be a clear sign of a toxic work environment. If you find that employees are constantly quitting, you may need to evaluate your workplace practices and figure out what’s driving workers away.

How Leaders Can Deter a Negative Environment

If you’ve identified any of these characteristics in the office and want to make a change, here are some examples of how to deter a negative workplace culture.

1. Strong Communication

Effective communication is crucial to fostering a positive work environment. Here are six ways you can do this:

  1. Provide constructive feedback: If an employee needs to be corrected on a certain aspect of their job to improve performance, it’s important to guide them rather than reprimand them. Offer them kind, constructive feedback to help them grow and learn. Additionally, be sure to discuss this with them in private rather than in front of the whole office.
  2. Promote effective verbal communication practices: Establish effective verbal communication through in-person meetings and conversations. If any employees work remotely, you can stay connected with them through video conferences.
  3. Practice strong nonverbal and written communication skills: Maintain eye contact and show interest through body language and facial expressions when speaking to your employees — this can help them feel heard and valued. Additionally, use polite and professional language when sending an email, memo or another form of written communication.
  4. Encourage and answer questions: Allow employees to ask questions whenever possible. This helps clear up any potential confusion and helps them improve job performance.
  5. Schedule meetings with employees when necessary: Regular one-on-one meetings with employees are a great way to evaluate performance, progress, strengths and weaknesses. This provides them with the personalized care and attention needed to grow and thrive.
  6. Establish clear goals and expectations: Gather your employees to outline clear goals for the company and specific ways to achieve them.

2. Employee Bonding

Creating opportunities for employees to bond and form friendships can help stimulate a positive work environment. Here are some ways to promote employee bonding in the workplace:

  1. Organize team lunches at work.
  2. Identify points of conflict and work to resolve them together.
  3. Set company goals and celebrate achievements as a team.
  4. Organize social events to connect outside of work, such as a company picnic, dinner or happy hour.

3. Effective Training and Onboarding

It’s critical to implement a strong training program for new hires. This helps familiarize them with the office, policies and responsibilities and strengthen their skills to perform their jobs well.

To create an effective training and onboarding program for new employees, you can:

  1. Make them feel welcome by giving them a tour of the office, taking them to lunch and introducing them to co-workers.
  2. Provide proper resources such as a mentor, training manual and technology-based learning.
  3. Familiarize them with tasks and procedures so they fully understand the expectations of the job.

Additionally, here are some things to avoid with new employee orientations:

  • A nonstructured training process
  • Overloading new employees with information
  • Large amounts of paperwork right off the bat
  • Vague instructions and unclear responsibilities

effective training and onboarding

4. Stress Management

Often, a negative work environment and lack of productivity can stem from high levels of stress. Here are three ways to help create a more relaxed environment and help employees deal with stress at work opens in a new window:

  1. Encourage employees to take breaks.
  2. Set realistic expectations so employees can effectively meet deadlines.
  3. Permit flexible hours and scheduling for employees.

5. Comfortable Workplace

It’s important to create an office environment that helps employees feel comfortable at work. This can increase productivity and reduce stress. To create a comfortable workplace, you can invest in high-quality computers and ergonomic desk equipment. Windows that allow for plenty of natural light are also great ways to create a calming atmosphere.

Additionally, you might consider setting up a coffee bar in your office’s break room or providing recreational areas for employees. Finding ways to make the office more comfortable can improve focus and concentration at work, promote employee well-being and increase overall efficiency.

6. Employee Appreciation

A crucial element to building a positive work environment is making sure your employees feel appreciated for the work they do. This can make all the difference between a positive vs. negative work environment.

To promote employee appreciation and recognition, you can look for opportunities to praise your workers, ask them how they’d like to be recognized and reward them for hard work. Incentive programs, gifts and bonuses are effective ways to motivate employees and recognize their achievements.

Benefits of Improving Work Culture

There are multiple benefits to transforming a negative work culture into a positive one:

  • A better image for the company
  • Development of teamwork and friendships
  • Increased productivity and organization
  • Lower turnover rate

Ultimately, every successful business with high employee satisfaction rates has a positive work culture. Companies that don’t prioritize a healthy workplace will experience numerous negatives — investing in your employees and building a positive environment can only help your brand thrive.

Start With Ordering Corporate Food Catering to Treat Your Team

By incorporating these practices, you can help prevent negative work environment effects and build a healthy office environment. To encourage employee bonding and express your appreciation for the work they do, order corporate catering from Apple Spice for your next office meal.

With quality customer service, delicious sandwiches and fresh-baked desserts, your next workplace gathering is guaranteed to be a hit. Order corporate catering to be delivered to your workplace today!

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