How to Overcome a Toxic Workplace (5 Cultures of Culture)

Results from the Latest Research on Attrition

Did you know a toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company’s attrition rate?  While many assume that salary and compensation are the leading cause of quitting, a recent survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Glassdoor reveals some shocking truths about the factors that cause employees to leave. And it’s not because of money!  Money ranks 16th on the list of reasons people quit!  The authors of this survey, which included 500 companies, pin the primary reason on toxic cultures.

Toxic Cultures Can be Deadly to Company Operations

Companies with toxic cultures not only experience high employee turnover but also operate with constant internal turmoil and have low productivity.

How can we identify a toxic culture?   What causes toxic cultures?

The easiest way to identify a culture problem is to ask employees how they like their jobs.  Do they love coming to work?

If they don’t, the culture is probably toxic!

Several behaviors, such as fear-based leadership, lack of recognition, subversive communications, unhealthy internal competition, and employee favoritism, can all lead to toxic cultures.

Leaderships’ responsibility…

Unfortunately, even the best CEOs sometimes underestimate the role their leadership team has in crafting a people-focused culture that inspires and motivates their employees.  These highly developed cultures produce impressive results, have low turnover, and are much easier to manage!

A company’s leaders must take on the responsibility of transforming their culture, regardless of its quality.  Even excellent cultures require constant leadership attention to market changes, workforce availability, and society’s cultural changes that can impact their company’s culture.  Tomorrow’s best cultures will certainly be different from today’s!

Cultural Transformations

How can we transform our company’s culture?

It’s estimated that three-quarters of all organizations miss the mark on getting corporate culture right, which can lead to toxic workplaces.   Great companies invest in their people and foster cultures that empower their teams to deliver results, which is why 80% of a leader’s time should be dedicated to growing tomorrow’s leaders. Through our cultural transformation process, we can help make your culture healthier – and your leaders stronger – resulting in an organization that attracts top talent.


When I work with leaders in assessing and transforming company culture, I stress that leaders must commit to the 5 C’s of Culture:


  1. Capability Culture (“Can Do”) – leaders must instill values, character, and beliefs that exude a “can do” spirit among employees, showing them what it takes to succeed
  2. Commitment Culture (“Will Do”) – leaders must develop a unique culture that motivates and inspires others, instilling the belief that each employee has the power to take risks and add value
  3. Connectedness Culture (“Must Do”) – using both cooperation and consensus-building elements, leaders must foster a culture based on teamwork and collaboration, allowing employees to execute at a high level
  4. Individual Performance Culture – leaders must foster an environment that’s transparent, open, and equitable – where honest feedback is not only welcome but encourages continual improvement; this step demonstrates your willingness to “walk the walk”
  5. Team Performance Culture – leaders must create equitable cultures, where every employee’s contribution adds to the collective success of the organization; conflict may arise, but your team will work hard to find a win/win situation



In assessing and transforming company cultures, ILEC works with organizations of all sizes – from small to mid-sized companies to Fortune 1000s. Being a Master Certified Coach on the ILEC team, I utilize a proven blueprint and philosophy designed to build strong, vibrant organizations. If your company is serious about creating a culture that creates loyalty, trust and optimizes performance, please visit and for more information on our approach to culture transformation see:


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