We often talk about team building, engagement, company loyalty and a sense of belonging because a company’s core values should be reflected in its corporate culture. However, it can happen that these values are only statements and do not align with the company’s working protocols. How can one tell if a company’s work culture is truly positive?

Here are five signs to look out for, especially if they last for medium to long periods of time.

1.   Poor communication

One of the most common signs concerns communication: in toxic environments it is often concealed from non-management and only top-down, which means employees cannot approach supervisors directly. Another common red flag is lack of exchange of knowledge between colleagues.

The consequences are invariably negative and affect morale, productivity and cohesion among team members.

2.   Lack of involvment

The success and development of a company depends on the ability of employees to express their ideas as well as grow individually. A working environment where there is a lack of cooperation, enthusiasm and trust stimulates negativity, which always leads to low work quality and high employee turnover.

3.   Poor job planning

What happens if managers do not manage work properly? Simple: the team loses productivity and discontent starts to build up. This lack of direction can manifest itself in many different ways: activity centralisation, unrealistic deadlines, confusion in planning or – in extreme cases – a climate of constant fear.

4.   Team diversity and division

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy working environment. Different opinions and ideas enrich the corporate culture and it’s normal to get along with some colleagues rather than others. However, when closed and not very inclusive groups (so-called cliques) are created, gossip and sabotage among employees become a real risk.

Only management can prevent these situations from arising or continuing.

5.   High employee turnover

The last point is perhaps the most important. Continuous employee turnover is a symptom of problems within a company, especially if talent is the first to leave.

When one or more signs become apparent, it’s often time to confront one’s management first: good communication can often be the key.

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