8 Ways to Identify a Toxic Workplace

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article | 8 Ways to Identify a Toxic WorkplaceContinuing a career in whichever field you choose is one of the largest parts of everyone’s life. This entails that most individuals spend almost, if not more, time at work than at home. Though seemingly difficult, what can make it even more strenuous is having a workplace that doesn’t make your life easier but rather harder, a toxic workplace, if you will.

A good workplace will make you feel seen, accomplished, and overall satisfied with working there, whereas, working in a toxic workplace will have many side effects on your mental and physical health, as well as your work output, and so on. Below you will find all the signs to look for when working in a work environment that may be toxic without you even knowing it.

Employee Sickness

The first sign you will notice of a toxic work environment is physical symptoms within yourself. These symptoms arise in multiple ways including burnout, fatigue, or even illness such as chronic migraines, weight loss due to multiple ailments, and even depression. If you find yourself calling in sick and having an overall negative mood, it may be time to reflect on a workplace change.

Chronic Cronyism

If you notice, your work colleagues and superiors all know each other a little too well. When a manager hires from the same homogenous circle of individuals, be that from family or friend circles, it becomes a case of cronyism. This means not only is the workplace extracting potential exterior high-performers but also creating a homogenous work culture that is unsustainable.

Gossiping

Small talk regarding guests or business partners is expected, but when small talk becomes gossip and gossip becomes overly personal within a workplace, it turns into an unhealthy partnership with colleagues. This can lead to strenuous collaboration on work projects, internal conflicts, external altercations, and so forth.

If you find yourself or your colleagues complaining to each other too often, the underlying issue is usually dissatisfaction with something within the work environment or maybe in their personal lives.


Antisocial Tendencies

Silence is often an indication of struggle and discomfort within a workplace. If your colleagues aren’t engaging with each other, nor is anyone’s body language positive, it can be a result of a prolonged decline in workplace morale and interpersonal relationships at work.

Another symptom of antisocial behavior is combativeness towards peers. If you feel you are being challenged too often, it is a telltale sign of toxicity within your work environment which can also affect your confidence and morale.

Lack of Confidence

Morale and confidence have already been mentioned, but there is another layer to workplace confidence which is being able to challenge ideas in a healthy manner. Being terrified of your superiors isn’t a healthy way to work since everyone is supposedly on the same team and is trying to find new and creative ways to move forward, which is something that cannot be done under scrutiny.

Lack of Growth

Growth equates to mobility. When looking for jobs, employees search for opportunities for growth within their workplace and personal careers, and if a company is unable to provide that, it may be a sign of a work environment that isn’t personally beneficial for you, which may even fit under the “toxic” terminology. It is important to create environments that promote growth.

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article | 8 Ways to Identify a Toxic WorkplaceLeadership Problems

Bosses come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. Sometimes a disagreeable boss is the byproduct of a previous negative superior, or sometimes people just aren’t meant to manage workers in the first place. There are two extremes to this spectrum: either your superior is very passive and doesn’t communicate enough, or they micromanage everyone’s every move.

Try looking for signs of a narcissistic boss, such as a lack of empathy for struggling colleagues, exclusively talking about themself, taking advantage of situations and people, and so on.

Blurry Boundaries

A workplace is meant to run with organization, not chaos. If you find your team doesn’t have set goals, roles, or boundaries put in place, it might be time to start questioning whether the environment is one that you wish to be a part of. Clear roles must be given to each member.


About the Author

Russell Ridgeway is an American writer based in Budapest, Hungary. He writes in business, tech, and fashion as well as creative fiction. You can reach him by email ([email protected]), or on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Simple Tips For Business Owners To Create A More Inclusive Workplace

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |A more inclusive workplace|Simple Tips For Business Owners To Create A More Inclusive WorkplaceA diverse workforce is a strong workforce. The variety of experiences and backgrounds that your business could have will greatly benefit you as an employer and will naturally help your company find greater success. A major part of this is going to be the morale boost that inclusivity and diversity can bring to a workplace. It’s important to remember that simply being diverse is not the same as being inclusive. Diversity is where you have people from all different backgrounds, races, and genders, for example, as a part of your business. However, you can still fail to be inclusive by not offering the same opportunities to everyone. Here we have some simple tips for business owners on how they can create a more inclusive workplace for their business.

Get The Rest Of Your Leadership On-Board

Change doesn’t happen overnight and most certainly can’t be done alone. To bring your entire team to a stage where they are all considering diversity and inclusion to be a pillar of virtue within your business, you’re going to have to get the rest of your management team on the same page as you. You’ll have to first make it clear what your goals are with these ideas and discuss the ways in which you can all work together to promote these mindsets and ethics. There are many ways in which managers can be more inclusive, and this might include you having to educate certain members of your management team on these principles. For example, you could do this by offering special inclusive management training to your staff.


Offer Equal Opportunities

You should try to stay aware of ways in which your business might be biased towards certain genders or races. To encourage greater diversity, it may be worthwhile to offer to train female employees via a women’s leadership program. This will not only serve as a great opportunity for female staff members, but it will also help you gain more women in management roles within your business, helping to better level the playing field. Of course, you have to balance this well, as merit and skill should arguably play the largest part in promotions too. However, promotions aren’t always based on these things. In many cases, a promotion will be down to confidence, how much leadership likes a particular person, and in some cases, that person will be chosen based on an unconscious bias based on their gender, race, or even sexual preferences. It’s therefore very important to root out these biases and strive to make your company a better place for everyone.

Push For Inclusive Language

While you must be careful when trying to change the language used by others, you can do this subtly by leading by example. You and your managers and your HR department should start by using more inclusive language around your team. If questioned on this, your managers should be able to provide a calm and reasonable response as to why inclusive language can be important today, especially to marginalized groups within your business. Simple things like learning the preferred pronouns of your employees and avoiding gendered language at work can show respect for the individual. If you know someone is married, then it’s best not to assume if they have a husband or a wife, for example, and to instead simply say, partner or spouse.

The Gender Pay Gap & the Importance of Retirement Planning

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Gender Pay Gap|The Gender Pay Gap & the Importance of Retirement PlanningWhile there has been progress made in terms of gender equality in recent times, it is clear that there is still much more that needs to be done. The gender pay gap is one of the biggest issues in the workplace right now, especially when you consider that it is not just career earnings that this will impact as it will also result in women having a smaller pension at retirement.

The Retirement Gap

The gender pension gap is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Additionally, it means that women need to plan their retirement finances and make sure that they have taken action to try and bridge the gap as best they can. Key Advice CEO, Will Hale, commented on the worrying issue of the gender pay gap and its impact on retirement finances:

“With women typically earning less over the course of their careers, more likely to work part-time or need to juggle their career and caring responsibilities, the gender pay gap quickly becomes the gender pension’s gap at retirement. It is disheartening that in 2021, women still expect 25% less than their male counterparts and nearly a third expect their income to fall below Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) Minimum Income Standard. There is no quick fix to this situation but it does illustrate how important it is to consider all your assets at retirement.”

So, what are a few of the best steps that women can take to plan their retirement finances?

Equity Release

Many people are turning to equity release these days and it can certainly be an effective way to give your retirement income a healthy boost. Essentially, equity release is a way of freeing up the value in your home. The loan amount and any interest are paid back by selling once the last borrower dies or they move into long-term care. Equity release can be a great solution for many homeowners, but there are key considerations so you should always speak with an equity release specialist to see if it is right for you.

Passive Income

Anyone looking to grow their wealth and build towards a brighter retirement may also want to look into passive income streams. This can be a smart way to boost your income while you work and requires little effort once it is up and running. There are a few passive income options, such as rental properties, affiliate marketing and dropshipping businesses.

Investing

Investing is also a smart move for anyone looking to improve their retirement fund. Obviously, there is risk when it comes to investing, but options like index funds can be a smart way to diversify and build wealth over time.

There is no quick fix to the gender pay gap issue, which means that it is important that women are planning ahead when it comes to retirement and doing all that they can to boost their finances.

CV Writing Tips to Land A Job In Diversity And Inclusion

StrategyDriven Professional Development Development Article |Diversity and Inclusion |CV Writing Tips to Land A Job In Diversity And InclusionDiversity and inclusion is a relatively new field of work that has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. The widespread social unrest that defined the end of 2020 has sparked a much-needed conversation on diversity and inclusion. As a direct result of the improved visibility of social issues relating to ethnicity, gender, physical ability, etc., we now see companies implementing more policies that aim to improve the working environment of their employees.

To do so, businesses have had to actively look for talent that can implement diversity and inclusion practices, which has resulted in a boom of hiring in Q2 2020. The number of hires in diversity roles more than doubled in that period, which is remarkable in the current state of crisis – and the trend doesn’t seem to abate.

With this being the case, many people are seriously considering trying their chances at jobs that have a diversity and inclusion focus. However, while the demand for such talent is high, the competition for positions is also quite fierce, and you’ll need your CV writing skills to be as sharp as possible if you want to land a job. Here’s what you need to consider.

Know What A Diversity & Inclusion Position Is

First things first – no two diversity and inclusion positions are alike, even within the same company. Due to the fact that diversity and inclusion practices, initiatives, and positions are something of a novelty, no industry has a unified vision of what a diversity and inclusion job should be. The fact that companies are vastly different and have varying circumstances, needs, and requirements further complicates matters.

Some companies have taken an active interest in promoting fair treatment of their employees and making sure that the working conditions in their offices are as welcoming and inclusive as possible. These companies will be looking to add diversity and inclusion officers to their boards, whose jobs will be to make company policy that steers the business in that particular direction.

Companies going the extra mile to promote belonging will also need experienced managers who are well versed in diversity and inclusion to implement said policies.

Some companies that wish to push for more representation in their workforce will need to employ diversity recruiters. Those will need to be experienced HR specialists while also being trained in promoting diversity, equality, and belonging.

The pattern here should be obvious by now – having diversity and inclusion qualifications is usually an additional requirement, rather than the main function of the position in question. Sure, it’s an important part of the job – but a company looking for a diversity manager or diversity recruiter will probably seek experienced candidates, first and foremost. Take this into serious consideration and tailor your CV accordingly.

Emphasize Your Skills And Experience

Before you apply for a diversity and inclusion position at a company, you need to do your due diligence. Research the company and its products, achievements, and goals. Read through their press releases, and familiarize yourself with their way of doing things as much as possible.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter – they will need to hire people to drive diversity and inclusion initiatives forward, that much is true. However, their most important job is to get people who are right for the position and right for the company. Make sure you take every opportunity to demonstrate that you are the best person for all of their needs.

Ideally, you should arrange your achievements, skills, and qualifications in a manner that would be most readable and useful to HR. Once you make sure all of your credentials are in check, make sure you modify each and every one of them to link them to fit the diversity and inclusion focus of that position.

Advertise Your Personal Qualities

Lately, companies have come to put a high value on soft skills, such as optimism, communication, openness, etc. The ability to deal with failure, the ability to work in stressful circumstances are especially relevant in the current crisis climate.

However, a job in diversity and inclusion requires a very particular set of qualities, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and cultural sensitivity.

Moreover, being able to demonstrate that you have a deep personal commitment to the idea of inclusion and diversity will most likely be crucial for landing a job in this field of work. You will need to be outspoken about your ideas of implementing diversity and inclusion policies at every level of the company and convincing in your argument of why you’re the best candidate for the job.

The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Business

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Diverse Workforce|The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in BusinessThe debate over diversity in the workplace is one that has taken up acres of newsprint across the years, and which remains a hot button issue through to the present. It’s not one we’re going to solve here, but it is worth looking at some of the reasons diversity is considered to be so important. It’s not just a matter of ticking boxes, as you’ll see below.

Diversity of background brings diversity of thought

While there is nothing objectively wrong with hiring from the same talent pool each time you bring someone in, the absence of diversity can hurt a business in terms of results. If you have a team of six people, and all six grew up in the same kind of area, had the same education and the same life experiences, there’s a decent chance – though not a certainty – that they’ll think the same way about problem solving. Really, you want a Plan B, and ideally C and D too, so a range of experiences helps.

A broader conversation helps everyone learn

If done organically, the building of a diverse workforce means that people who aren’t ordinarily exposed to a certain way of thinking can have their horizons broadened. This is as true for the perceived “outsider” as it is for the “insiders”. Everyone can gain some insight into another way of doing things, and it makes a business stronger.

Over time, bias can be corrosive

It is somewhat natural that people will seek out others like them in a lot of scenarios, whether that’s two white men gravitating towards another in a mixed group, or two fans of the same singer or radio station. That can be beneficial for harmony, but if it is reinforced over years and even generations it can lead to a business that is not prepared for a changing world. The infographic below explains how diversity can boost a business, and why it is important.


Infographic Design By Ezra Coaching