What Makes a Workplace Toxic

The workplace is more than a setting for employees, it is a platform for employees to conduct their abilities and challenge their potential. The workplace is defined by its atmosphere, and a positive atmosphere is generated through healthy habits and camaraderie. Unfortunately, these circumstances can be mismanaged, creating a toxic workplace. HRMatrix is here to help you recognize what a toxic workplace consists of. 

The traits of a toxic workplace effectively hinder the potentials of employees and general productivity. Toxicity is ostensibly draining, and it results in a lack of engagement with company/business goals. The interference of a toxic workplace can lead a business to its demise very quickly and force premature productivity as there is a higher probability for employees to complete their goals and tasks without care or sincere effort. Our goal is to establish recognition and motivation to pursue results that are fulfilling for both the individual and the company. 

Understand that a toxic environment results in stress, and as the domino effect continues, the victims of a toxic environment are rendered exhausted. Remember that one bad day does not define the atmosphere of a workplace, and toxicity is often brought to fruition through the consistency of negative behavior. Whether it may be office gossip, poor remarks, selfish workplace conduct, these negative factors perpetuate the energy of the environment and it is crucial that we all participate to maintain a more beneficial world.

The Signs

A toxic workplace often harbors unhealthy habits such as lack of recognition, favoritism, burnout culture, and poor communication. Of course, the practice of these traits creates conflicts that evolve into damaging environments. Workplace relationships can be affected and of course, the employee’s progress will inevitably be influenced. 


Lack of Recognition

We previously discussed methods of recognition. When there is a lack of positive reassurance, employees often feel aimless with their efforts. They need management to participate as more than a textbook guide, they rely on constructive conversations that recognize the employee’s efforts. Remember your employees are talented that you recruited and you retain, so get into the habit of reminding them why. 



Unfortunately, recognition and favoritism can go hand-in-hand if it is not executed properly. Be careful that you are not weighing heavy on an employee that you appreciate and neglect the result as a result. Recognition is one way to exhibit favoritism, but it is not the only way. That margin of forgiveness can vary if favoritism exists in the workplace. Some employees that management prefers to receive more pardon than the rest. 


Poor Communication

Poor communication is a direct cause of a toxic workplace environment. Gossiping, arguing, hurtful remarks are all ways to foster toxicity. This influences the motivation of an employee and their mental wellbeing too. It is important to treat others how you want to be treated. Gossiping damages an employee’s confidence and they often do not deserve the harsh commentary that occurs behind their backs. If there is an issue that is worth communication, pursue it with the subject as opposed to gossiping. When there is an issue with somebody, confront it. Discuss it with the idea that there needs to be a healthy resolution. The goal will be interpreted clearly, making it easier for the conflict to be resolved.


It is important to note these main signs when making sure your workplace is toxic. If you are in the position of an employee, bring it up to your superiors and suggest the methods listed above to help create an environment that exercises practices that benefit each other. If you are the manager, then you have direct access to the functionality of the environment, so you have the immediate ability to implement better methods to achieve a workplace that is far from toxicity.