Having a bad company culture can affect people in many ways. From quitting to stress leave, not feeling valued or being unhappy, and/or causing tension between co-workers. It can all happen within your company without you knowing it. How do you even know what it looks like?

Think of it this way, you have a group of people all working in the same department. For the most part they all get along, so it seems. But there is that one person that is constantly talking about everyone they work with, to everyone else behind their backs, even about management and the way they do things. This is called gossip. It could be a form of jealousy, or another issue. It also could be a manager that is doing it. It starts off innocent enough, but can create a non-trust environment between employees. Especially if nothing is done about it. This can become particularly damaging in bigger companies as it tends to go unnoticed.

When you have someone who talks to you about others behind their back, you can already assume that they are also talking to others about you. It’s up to you to recognize when this happens and stay clear of it. At times this can become a distraction to all who are involved in it, and affects productivity in different ways for the company. Maybe you know, or have seen this happen in your company.

So, why would this matter to you as a company owner or HR manager? Bottom line, it will affect your business. If there are issues with co-workers, they should be brought to the forefront and discussed so a resolution can be found. This is the best way to solve any issue.

When this type of thing happens, it needs to be dealt with right away. Why is that?

Here is what can happen to people when this type of issue isn’t dealt with:

  1. It starts to drain co-workers of energy
  2. It starts to erode trust within the team
  3. It creates unnecessary stress and disconnection
  4. It can lead to a non-productive and an unhappy environment
  5. It can lead to stress leave
  6. It creates negativity in the workplace
  7. It can lead to an employees quitting

As an owner, you need to stay on top of what is happening within your company and the people in it. As an employee, you need to talk to your HR supervisor or someone higher up that can assist you with the conflict before it escalates. If you don’t, you run the risk of the seven things I listed above. Be the solution and help yourself.

The second example is that when there are confrontations in the work place because of these issues, they escalate and cause major problems between co-workers, and for management as well. If the conflict is between two people, don’t think it doesn’t affect others in the department, because it will.

Such as, someone has an issue with someone else in the department and addresses it right in front of the team. Is this a right and wrong conflict, the blame or shame game, or something else? Certainly not appropriate by any means. Take the person aside and address it in confidence. Not in front of everyone else. This automatically puts everyone on the team in a fight or flight response. Creating tension and unease.

As an HR manager or owner, it is your responsibility to de-escalate these situations before they get out of control, finding a resolution to the issue. If not, it could be the difference of an unhappy culture, and/or retaining employees. Imagine if this gets out to the public. How damaging could that be to your recruitment efforts?

Imagine the employer does nothing about these things, or doesn’t take them seriously. How does that make the employee feel about their work environment? Probably not very good. Not only is the trust eroded with the employee who is spreading the information, but it is also eroded between the employer and the employee because nothing was done about it.

Once trust has been eroded, it is very difficult to get it back. It could take months, or even years of trying to get it back, when it could have been resolved quickly. Don’t let these, sometimes little things escalate into bigger issues.

These are just a couple of examples that can certainly cause reason for concern for any employer. Pay attention to your surrounding, and what’s going on within your company. There may be something going on right under your nose. It would be a shame to loose valuable people, whether recruiting or retaining, because of things like this.

Dana G. Smith, CC

Dana G Smith CC is a Certified Relationship Coach/Consultant and co-creator of The Mindful Trucker, helping companies and professional drivers with better Health, Safety, Wellness & Driver Solutions.