Signs of a Toxic Work Culture to Look For

What toxic work culture signs should you watch out for in your job search? Protect yourself with this list of the red flags in a toxic work environment.
Toxic boss reprimanding employees at a company with a toxic work culture.

It’s no secret that the workplace has changed dramatically in recent years. With the rise of the gig economy and the prevalence of remote work, employees are increasingly looking for jobs that offer more than just a paycheck. They’re looking for fulfilling work that aligns with their values and provides them with a sense of purpose.

At the same time, employers are under more pressure than ever to create workplaces that attract and retain top talent. They’re also challenged to provide their employees with the resources and support they need to be successful.

One of the most important aspects of creating a positive work environment is ensuring that your company culture is healthy. A toxic work culture can lead to high levels of stress and burnout, and it can be a major turnoff for potential employees.

So how can you tell if a company has a toxic work culture? This article looks at some of the key warning signs to look for.

7 Toxic Work Culture Red Flags

A toxic work culture can take many forms. Sometimes it’s a result of poor management, while other times, it’s the product of a toxic environment that has developed over time. Regardless of the cause, toxic work culture can harm both employees and the company as a whole. Here are seven signs of toxic work culture to look out for:

1. Employees are constantly stressed and burned out.

There are several signs that can indicate a toxic work culture. Employees who are constantly stressed and burned out are a major red flag. If employees don’t have any time for a personal life outside of work, that’s another sign that the workplace culture is toxic.

2. There is a high turnover rate.

A toxic work culture can be hard to spot from the outside looking in. However, there are some telltale signs that all is not well in a company. One red flag is a high turnover rate. If employees are constantly quitting their jobs, it may be because they are not able to handle the culture. Additionally, toxic work culture is often characterized by a lack of respect. If employees feel belittled or disregarded, it can lead to a hostile work environment.

3. Employee morale is low.

Employee morale is one of the most important aspects of healthy work culture, and there are several signs that you can look for to gauge whether or not morale is low. One of the most obvious signs is high turnover rates. If employees are constantly quitting or being fired, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

Other signs include gossiping, backstabbing, and negative attitudes. In a healthy workplace, employees should feel like they are part of a team and have each other’s backs. If you see more infighting than camaraderie, it’s a sign that the work environment is toxic.

4. Communication is poor.

Communication is essential in any work environment, and a lack of communication can be a sign that the workplace culture is toxic. If employees feel like they cannot openly communicate with their supervisor or other team members, it can create an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. This can lead to employees feeling like they have to watch what they say and do, which can stifle creativity and collaboration.

In addition, a lack of communication can also make it difficult to resolve conflict, leading to further tension and stress. If you notice that communication is poor in your workplace, it is important to take steps to improve the situation. Encourage open communication by creating opportunities for employees to share their ideas and concerns.

5. There is a lack of trust.

A lack of trust is often a key indicator of a toxic culture. When employees don’t feel like they can trust their colleagues or supervisors, it can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety. Additionally, a lack of communication or transparency can also create an atmosphere of mistrust. If employees are constantly in the dark about company decisions or upcoming changes, it can breed rumors and speculation.

In a healthy workplace, employees should feel like they are part of the decision-making process and that they can openly communicate with their managers.

6. Employees feel like they’re always being watched.

If people feel like they can’t take a break or step away from their desks without someone watching their every move, it’s a sign that the workplace culture may be toxic. This constant surveillance creates an atmosphere of fear and can lead to employees feeling like they’re walking on eggshells. If you notice this kind of behavior at your company, it’s important to speak up.

7. The company values profit over people.

This can manifest in a number of ways, such as expecting employees to work long hours for little pay, putting unrealistic demands on employees, or neglecting employee wellbeing in favor of productivity. This kind of toxic culture can lead to employees feeling overworked and undervalued. You’ll also spot some signs even when looking at online job postings. If a company is constantly advertising for new employees, it may be a sign that they are not taking care of their current employees.

A toxic workplace can lead to high turnover rates, low morale, and poor communication. Additionally, a lack of trust and a focus on profit over people can also be indicative of a toxic culture. If you notice any of these signs, take action to improve the situation.

Looking for a better work environment? Check out the best employers in Arizona on BestCompaniesAZ! We can help you find a company that values employees and has a healthy workplace culture.

See what companies are hiring.

Share this article
Award-Winning Companies

Click on a program below to meet Arizona’s most diverse, veteran-focused, award-winning companies.

Best Employers

The pay is good, the perks are awesome, but it’s more than that. Respect, opportunity, balance, fun, and pride – you don’t want to settle for less. Why should you? Your dream job is looking for you.

Get updates

Join our network for updates on events, career openings, best practices, and more!

Let us elevate your employer brand

Want to build your employer brand in Arizona? Need help applying for a company award? Looking to fill your talent pipeline?

We can help! We’ve been doing this for 20 years.

Best Career Advice

Best Companies for Women

Want to learn about the best companies for women? This blog post shares top companies for women and what makes each company stand out.

Learn more about Arizona's best companies!

Get our e-news specifically for employers and job seekers – it includes the latest career opportunities, recruiting and networking events and job search tips. Stay ahead of the game on workplace awards, recruiting events and employer branding best practices.