5 Signs of a Toxic Workplace (and How to Fix It)

Toxic workplaces have become somewhat of an epidemic, and they’re not just bad for employee morale. In fact, it’s estimated that just one toxic team member can cost a business more than $12k. Unhappy staffers lead to less-than-stellar client experiences, which can dramatically impact your practice’s long-term profitability. Not sure whether your office has dipped into the danger zone? Here are five telltale signs of workplace toxicity and what you can do to turn things around once and for all.

People never seem to stay.

The most obvious sign of a toxic workplace is the revolving door of employees. High turnover typically means there’s a culture problem within the practice that needs to be addressed. If you’re noticing that you just can’t seem to keep good employees for very long, it’s time to take an honest look at what type of workplace you’re operating. This may not be easy, but it’s necessary if you are to get things back on track. A great place to start is by conducting exit interviews. This can provide valuable insight as to what areas of your practice could use some attention.

Bad moods abound.

You’d think with all those purring kittens and boisterous puppies around, everybody would be thrilled to come to work every day. But when a workplace is toxic, it’s tough to maintain a semblance of happiness, even when surrounded by adorable animals. Take inventory of your team. If it seems like everyone is miserable, it’s time to take action. Focus on getting to the root of the problem, whether it’s management, practice policies or that one bad apple who’s spoiling the bunch. When you address that, morale should start to improve.

There’s lots of gossip going on.

Gossip can come in many forms. Maybe it’s one person talking about a colleague behind his or her back. Or, perhaps it’s someone spreading rumors about the practice’s financial stability. Whatever the case may be, gossip is never good for business. It causes divisiveness and unhealthy competition. If there’s a member of your team who has a propensity for secret-sharing, you’ll need to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. If it doesn’t change, it may be time to cut ties and move on, for the sake of everyone else on the team.

Work-life balance is non-existent.

Believe it or not, your employees have lives outside of work. They have families. They have hobbies. They have passions that have nothing to do with veterinary medicine. If they aren’t able to pursue and enjoy those things because they’re constantly working and can never take time off, it’s going to take its toll soon enough. If your team is simply going through the motions and seems to have lost their enthusiasm for the job, encourage them to take some time to rest and recharge. Doing so will benefit everyone – your employees, their colleagues, your clients and patients and ultimately your practice.

There’s disproportion with the workload.

Does it seem like one or two team members are pulling more weight than everyone else. When the workload is being handled disproportionately, it will inevitably lead to bitterness, frustration and probably a two-week notice. Take some time to examine how tasks are being divvied up and step in to make some adjustments where needed. If you discover one or two employees who always seem to take the easy way out, it may be time to make a staffing decision for the betterment of the team as a whole.

We spend a good portion of our waking hours at work. The environment in which that time is spent can make all the difference in the world. If you’ve noticed one or more of the above signs and symptoms occurring in your practice, the time to take swift action is now. By addressing and correcting the problem, you’ll create a healthier, happier workplace where your employees will thrive (and subsequently, so will your bottom line).