There is nothing that is more terrifying than the unknown. A bad workplace environment can be worse than inhaling a toxic chemical. It's even more harmful to those of us who are not aware of what we may be walking into. I've been on both sides. It was not until I became a small business owner and employer that I learned the underlying philosophy; how you treat your employees extremely determines the way you will treat your clients / customers. Both are a bad reflection on the company's objective. Below are five signs to help you recognize if a company is not the best solid place to work, how you can avoid wasting your time and what to do about it.
- High Turnover Rate – Employee retention is extremely important. It is the company's job from the first date of hire to make sure employees stay happy, engaged in their work and committed to the objective of the company. The idea is to prevent people from feeling like they might want to be somewhere else. If the turnover rate is high, it is likely because managers are either struggling to monitor workplace morale or they are not exercising good strategies that manage the drivers of turnovers which are typically attributed to poor work life balance and employee development. If you are applying to a company with high turnover, ask questions about their retention accountability.
- Bad Interview Process – Jobs interviews are meant to be a two-way conversation, not a Q & A session. It should also never be an uncomfortable experience. If the hiring manager is giving short answers with no depth as to why the position is open, how long and what their expectations are, it's a sign that they are not looking to achieve much from this position. Also, if the hiring manager is making it appear as if this is an opportunity you should not say no to rather than why they believe a person with your experience would be a good fit for their company, run! This is a sign that they do not care about your background and experience and are looking to meet a hiring quota. If the interview process falls into either of these circumstances, it's best to avoid the company altar. It speaks to an unbalanced company structure.
- Unprofessional – Unprofessional habits in the workplace goes beyond sealing stamps and yellow highlights from the supply cabinets. Unprofessional behaviors actually begin with fraternizing. Before you know it, your boss and coworkers are now leaning on one another emotionally. When your workplace relationship goes beyond the normal scope of employee interactions, it can lead to trouble and creating a stressful and crippling work environment. Things like gossip, favoritism, nepotism, laziness, unresolved conflict, and office politics are contributors to an unprofessional work environment. Even if some of the office banter is playful, it can create a negative dynamic that will only contain itself for so long before it bursts like a bubble. In a nutshell, if the morale sits somewhere between TMZ and VH1 with management and staff conducting themselves like a bunch of reality TV show cast members, it's time to re-evaluate.
- Pessimism – Some people outright hate their jobs. What's worse is that they often project their hatred off on other employees which spreads bad energy. I always warn people to stay away from people who speak from a psychology of defeat. It is a very dangerous mindset. Not only does pessimism create a negative work environment, it affects productivity. If management severely ever steps in to counteract these attitudes by ironing out differences before they escalate, it's probably because they are part of the problem. Managers are not only tasks supervisors that they are supposed to be good leaders. It's their job to keep workers focused and engaged at all times. The results of preventing pessimistic attitudes to rule in the workplace can cost a business clients and profits.
- Ineffective Communication – It is the quiet cancer that kills businesses and stunts growth. Poor training leads to management and employees transfering incorrect information both internally and externally. Relying solely on email and chat and office politics can also lead to misunderstandings. It creates barriers. Barriers are what lead to the objective becoming distorted, causing confusion and conflict leading to low employee morale. Low company morale destroys productivity and creates poorly engaged employees.
Company culture is one of the most important drivers of individual and the collective success of a business. When you do not empower your employees it does not generate good results and therefore creates a broken atmosphere. Be sure to watch the signs and pay attention to the facts mentioned this will help to drive you in the right direction – away from companies you will not be happy to work for in a position that will not fully utilize your skills and ambition . You can also visit websites like Glassdoor.com to get an idea about the culture of a company. When employees are breaking their necks trying to leave an organization to work somewhere else, it's a sure sign the company may not be the best place to work. If you decide it's still worth it, proceed with caution.