Are you finding it difficult to focus on running your business because of increasing staff turnover, management conflicts and an overall negative culture? These are all the symptoms of a dysfunctional workplace.
Having a dysfunctional workplace is the quickest way to increase cost and decrease productivity at the same time.
It’s a lose-lose-lose situation. You’re losing money, losing staff, and likely losing control of your stress levels as well.
So don’t dismiss these crucial problems as ‘standard workplace issues’ because they aren’t. They are toxic situations that need to be fixed from the bottom up and top down.
STEP ONE: Independent workplace audit
It is important to have someone who is seen as independent (and confidential) to come in and conduct a simple yet effective audit of your workplace. This will help you identify what the key issues are. Often we can’t see for ourselves what the core areas of concern may be (e.g. it could be YOU).
The consultant should take the time to speak in depth with staff, managers and the directors in different sessions, and identify and discuss what concerns them.
They will then identify what is working and what isn’t. This will produce an objective analysis of the problems.
STEP TWO: Listen to the issues
There is no use conducting an audit if you are not willing to listen to the results. It might – okay, probably will – be uncomfortable to do, as you are the business owner or leader of this business. Nevertheless, you can’t expect to change the situation if nothing changes. Take a non-emotional and strategic approach to the problem(s) and DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
STEP THREE: Don’t retaliate, devise a plan instead.
Once you hear the feedback, don’t retaliate in a negative way. Keep it positive and design a plan to solve the issues.
If you need to remove key people because they have been identified as toxic or detrimental to the business, then do so quietly and quickly.
Often there are some low-hanging fruit solutions (which should be identified during the audit) for what you can do in the short term to start changing the culture in a positive way.
Look forward and plan out the changes that need to occur in the next 12 months — and start building the pathway to that. This leads to a very important step: workshops.
STEP FOUR: Workshops
Workshops are absolutely crucial in showing your team (at all levels) that you are interested in their personal and professional development. They are also a team-building exercise and an opportunity to solve possible problems, help the team have a positive outlook for their future — and for the consultant to assist with putting out any potential spot fire before it becomes a business-destroying inferno.
Workshops are for all levels. Staff, managers and directors. They should be practical and cover key issues such as conflict, relationship building, leadership, time management, negotiation skills — and a very important area: confidence.
STEP FIVE: Review and repeat every 6-12 months
Don’t stop the process. That is the quickest way for your culture to possibly slide back into complacency. Just like any relationship, it takes time and effort being invested if you want the best possible outcome.
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