Talking about ‘toxic culture’ in a business context, we mean those business environments where strategy, leadership, and employees are disconnected. In these instances, negativity builds, empowerment dwindles, inclusion is ill-defined, and efforts are not made to connect the dots for leaders and employees. As a result, engagement disintegrates, goals are missed, and your highest potential employees leave. Work becomes truly laborious, leaders become elitists focused on power and personal gains, and conversations at all levels focus on what is wrong instead of finding solutions to problems and achieving goals. Leaders alone cannot define a company’s culture. Leaders model what the company values and promote the behaviors needed for success.
The first step to improving your culture is understanding what your culture is today. Arbitrarily offering things to employees to try to improve morale or retention is more harmful than good. You need to establish where you are culturally and make definitive decisions about what your culture needs to be to achieve the business goals.