Great managers cultivate great workplace cultures where organizations and employees thrive.
People Managers play a critical role in shaping what a workplace culture looks like on a daily basis – from employee engagement and job fulfillment to productivity, profitability and health and wellness. The best People Managers engage in courageous communication. How? They strive to understand employee pressure points. They dare to rumble with tough issues. They consistently celebrate accomplishments and they repeatedly clarify the WHY and the mission so employees can better understand how their work relates to achieving corporate objectives.
When people are part of strong workplace cultures, they feel inspired to go to work and seek out new opportunities to succeed in the workplace. In contrast, a toxic culture leaves people uninspired and unwilling to push themselves at work.
Dysfunctional communication is a leading contributor to the cultural problems facing many workplaces today. In 2019, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Managers) commissioned research on toxic workplace cultures and what happens to the employees who work in them. “The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture: How Culture Impacts the Workforce – and the Bottom Line” study found that culture and managers are closely connected.
Nearly 4 in 10 working Americans say their manager fails to regularly engage in honest conversations about work. Similarly, 1 in 5 employees is uncomfortable engaging in such discussions with their manager, suggesting that many People Managers fail to foster an environment of trust and transparency. When employees lose trust or feel uncomfortable around their managers, they grow alienated from their workplace and the workplace becomes more toxic.
Time and time again, skills that promote trust and transparency, like courage-building, collaboration and team chemistry, are marginalized as “soft.” Yet, in the past five years, turnover in companies with cultures riddled with fear, incivility and toxic bosses cost American businesses over $223 billion – nothing soft about those numbers.
How do these costs pile up? Loss of productivity, loss of intellectual capital, down time with onboarding and training replacements, severance packages and potential lawsuits account for many of the drops in profit.
The best People Managers do these two big things – they cultivate respect and do not tolerate incivility. Beware – toxic cultures often start with incivility that becomes normalized and accepted over time. Here’s what incivility looks like:
- Teasing to sting
- Offensive Jokes
- Texting in meetings
- Public shaming
What can you do?
If any of these behaviors have become normalized within your workplace, it’s time to consider their impact on engagement and the bottom line.
In her TEDTalk, Dr. Christine Porath discusses the ROI of respect and civility at work. She shares surprising insights about how even little acts of respect and kindess can boost your professional success and elevate your company’s performance. Employees who are respected feel valued and valued employees engage, produce and perform at higher levels. The bottom line? Civility pays.