Tips for Diffusing A ‘Toxic’ Work Environment

If there is a lack of positivity, tendency for drama, or tense atmosphere in your office, then you may have a toxic workplace on your hands. To keep it from spiraling out of control, office managers must stay alert and act quickly to address and correct anything that is negatively impacting their staff. Here are a few helpful tips for diffusing a toxic work environment.

Recognize and Reward Employees

When it comes to increasing an employee’s job satisfaction, a little effort can go a long way. Simple gestures of gratitude help remind them that their contributions to the company are valued. A struggling employee will become more productive and less toxic if they feel a sense of belonging and pride in their work. To further motivate ambitious, hard workers, incentivize them by establishing a performance-based Employee of the Month award or provide advancement opportunities.

Encourage Team-building

Managers often find success in diffusing hostile workplaces by getting their team out of the office. Not only could some fresh air and a change of scenery help alleviate built-up tension, but it could also allow co-workers to bond while removed from a stressful workplace. Some effective company outings and team-building events include:

  • Company picnics – From team lunches to holiday BBQs, food-based events always helps work stress fade away.
  • Competitive sports teams – Intramural sports leagues like flag football, softball, and volleyball are available in most cities for companies to join.
  • Various games, contests, and activities – Creative social options for employee bonding include scavenger hunts, escape rooms, happy hours, and trivia nights.
  • Volunteer or charitable programs – Working together to benefit a good cause enables coworkers the opportunity to gain soft skills that allow them to grow both personally and professionally.

Offer Intangible Benefits

While pay increases may not always be an option, companies can retain their employees, increase productivity, and improve the overall mood of their workplace by offering intangible benefits such as flexible work schedules, employee autonomy, or telecommuting opportunities. In fact, many employees prefer benefits that provide them with a more desirable work-life balance over a wage increase.

Dealing with a Toxic Employee

If the source of a workplace’s toxicity is coming from specific employees who cause conflict or exhibit disrespectful, derogatory, or disruptive behavior that affects the overall mood of the office, then managers should:

  • Give counsel – schedule a meeting with the toxic employees to understand why they may be dissatisfied with their job and work with them to see what arrangements that can be made to help alleviate their issues.
  • Reassure staff – offer any offended parties reassurance that steps will be taken to prevent any further toxicity in the workplace.
  • Give warnings – if problems or drama persist, put toxic employees on notice with a written or verbal warning that clearly states such unprofessional behavior will result in termination if not remedied.
  • Set benchmarks – give the toxic employees 30 days to hit assigned goals without incident and then review their performance.

If your toxic employees cannot be effectively managed, then rely on the human resource management services provided by Professional Employer Resources. Not only do we assist companies with employee terminations, but we also help with employee discipline, counseling, and coaching. For professional guidance that will successfully improve employee morale and performance, contact PER today at 407-599-4990.

Ready to grow your business?