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What is Toxic Behaviour in the Workplace?

21 Jun 2021

A toxic workplace is quite common, but it can be difficult to identify a toxic work environment, especially if you’ve become used to the behaviour and attitudes around you.
With decades of history, the insurance industry has a range of businesses and workplace cultures, some of which may have a toxic environment.

At IDEX Consulting, we have a deep understanding about the importance of workplace culture, and have helped many executives and brokers find their ideal workplace in the insurance industry. This is why we want to help you identify a toxic workplace.

What is toxic workplace behaviour?

Toxic workplace behaviour is any behaviour or habit that negatively impacts your colleagues or workload. This behaviour doesn’t have to take place during work hours or inside a building to be considered toxic.

Signs of toxic workplace

It is important to identify what constitutes toxic behaviour, whether it is coming from other people or yourself. Here are five signs a company might have a toxic culture.

High turnover rate
A key identifier of a toxic workplace is a really high turnover rate. If a business can’t keep employees and they’re in a constant cycle of hiring and losing people it may suggest that there’s poor leadership, high workloads,  poor employee engagement and unrealistic expectations, at the very least.

Whilst it’s natural for colleagues to hand their notice in and move on to new pastures, if you see people handing their notice in voluntarily and appearing much happier after they’ve left, it’s a red flag.

Narcissistic employees 
Narcissistic employees and managers are also a sign of a toxic workplace. Entitled, arrogant and interpersonally exploitative, workplace narcissists can’t take criticism and will often belittle colleagues they’re threatened by. Narcissism brings rumours, failure to work in a team, the inability to take responsibility for wrongdoing and much more.

Personal goals and hobbies aren’t prioritised
Having personal goals and hobbies is really important when it comes to mental health, but if  your workplace consumes all of your energy and time you may not have the motivation to do things outside of work.

The idea of picking up a book, going to the gym or meeting friends for dinner may feel overwhelming if you’re bogged down with deadlines and a heavy workload. It’s important that you balance your work and personal life.

Meetings are taken over by leadership
If you’re in training sessions or meetings full of senior leadership doing all the talking, it could be that your colleagues are afraid of speaking up, in fear of being ridiculed or shot down.

Your time and workload isn’t respected 
An ever increasing workload with little wiggle room or leeway is another flag of a toxic workplace. If colleagues are wearing their unpaid overtime like a badge of honour, it’s a sign that there’s no respect for your workload or time. Whilst an increasingly high workload might be because you’re great at your role, it will impact your stress levels, free time and enjoyment of the role, especially if you’re not getting a salary increase or promotion.

If you’re looking for your next role, speak to the recruitment specialists at IDEX. We provide independent recruitment in the Insurance, Financial Services and Legal sectors.

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