Resource Centre Career Development 5 Signs of Bad Company Culture

5 Signs of Bad Company Culture


Bad company culture can have a negative effect on the company and employees as well. Most of the times, bad company culture contributes to chaos and conflict in the workplace, negative office politics and an increase in employee turnover rate. It will always seem like people can’t wait to leave.

It is the work of the employer to ensure that the environment employees are working in promotes peaceful, harmonious and healthy interactions. This ultimately reflects on business performance and overall employee wellness. 

Here is a list of 5 warning signs of a bad company culture that you should look out for.

Poor Internal Communication


Clear and continued communication is critical for any organization to function. It facilitates running of operations, planning and execution of projects as well as working towards the same goals and objectives. The company is a living organism and for all organs to work as they should, communication is the glue that keeps them together. If communication in your company is strained or non-existent, this is a sign of negative culture. Poor communication is toxic to any organization. The results could be devastating as the situation could escalate to the point where employees no longer care and they just stick around to pay bills until something better comes up. If you are afraid to speak up or share ideas, if you are always facing issues of broken telephone, if the situation is so bad you feel it even borders on verbal abuse, maybe it is time to change companies. 


No one likes working under unnecessary scrutiny. Your boss should give you enough space to put your talent and skills to work. Micromanagement and constant scrutiny can create a very tense working environment, this is not healthy and will affect the team’s productivity. It also shows a lack of trust in the employees to do what they were hired for and what is expected of them. 


Poor Management and Leadership


If a company or an organization somehow promotes bad habits like disrespecting employees, productivity is going to be affected. Your work takes most of your waking hours. If this time makes you miserable, it is not worth it. The leadership and management of a company have a big role in how things are running in the company. A company’s culture and general environment are greatly influenced by the leadership in place. Good leadership promotes a good working relationship with the employees, treats everyone equally and provides a good working environment. 

Favouritism in Applying Company Rules and Policies


Equality and fairness are important in any organization. All the employees should have received fair treatment regardless of their position. Policies should be in place stipulating what is to be considered fair and how to deal with instances of discrimination. The HR department should also be very keen on the legal aspects of discrimination and educate management on its intricacies. The rules set should apply to every team member, promotions should also be on merit. 

Office Gossip


Gossip, regardless of where it happens, is always negative. It’s however even worse in a workspace. Office gossip is always hurtful and leaves a situation where people become closed off and guarded. Influencing a negative corporate culture can be easy when gossip starts. Deal with all the issues head-on, avoid a situation where there is all sorts of communication but a formal one.

What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Bad Company Culture

You may realize that, unfortunately, your current company has most of the above aspects and you have just realized you are in a toxic environment. Are you in a position to influence change? If yes, start pointing out areas that need improvement and recommend ways of improving the culture. If you are not in a position to influence change, maybe it is time to look for another employer. You cannot quit immediately because you have bills to pay and you feel that you shouldn’t stay longer because it is affecting you negatively. So what should you do? Start a stealth job search and as you attend interviews understand signs of a bad employer and avoid them. You do not want to jump from a frying pan into another frying pan or worse, the fire. As you look for another job, here are ways of surviving a toxic workplace. 

All the best!

Sarah Wangari
Notification Bell