How Workplace Culture Impacts Your Employee Turnover

Understand the effects that both a positive and negative workplace culture can have on your employee turnover.



Understanding the importance of workplace culture is crucial. It allows you to determine your organization's values and attitudes, which then impact your employees' job satisfaction and overall turnover.

Here at Stratus HR, we can help you transform your workplace culture. With our expert HR support, PEO partnership, and a wealth of resources, we empower you to create a positive, inclusive environment that boosts morale, productivity, and retention. Don't let a toxic culture hold you back; schedule a free consultation and embark on a journey to a brighter workplace future.

What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture can be defined as the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral norms that shape the overall environment, productivity, and relationships within a company. This includes both the written and unwritten expectations for employee behavior, as well as the interactions and relationships between coworkers. 

Your workplace culture influences everything from your company's mission and vision to employee satisfaction, work-life balance, and overall productivity. Ultimately, a positive workplace culture is one that supports the well-being and success of your employees, while also promoting a positive and productive work environment.

Having a positive workplace culture is crucial for both employers and employees. When employees feel valued at work and connected to their colleagues, they are more likely to stay and contribute their best work. On the other hand, a negative workplace culture can leave employees feeling demotivated and disengaged, ultimately leading to high employee turnover.

What does a negative workplace culture look like?

Negative workplace culture may include poor communication, high employee turnover, and a lack of motivation among employees. The overall environment and attitude of the employees and management are negative, toxic, or unhealthy. 

When a company has a negative workplace culture, it is typically manifested by any combination of the following:

High employee turnover

When employees experience an intolerable, negative work environment, they are more likely to leave. Having a high employee turnover rate within the first few months of employment can be a clear indication of problems within your workplace culture. 

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Poor communication

  • Poor communication between employees and management fosters a negative workplace culture, making employees feel uneasy about the company’s direction or unclear about their own expectations. A lack of communication and transparency also leads to misunderstandings, which results in conflict, back-biting, and a loss of productivity while resolving conflict.

Low productivity

  • Productivity is not only hindered by time spent resolving conflict but the cycle of a negative workplace culture is followed closely by low employee morale, which then leads to a lack of motivation and results in decreased productivity. If your company has had a noticeable drop in productivity and/or high-quality work, you may have a problem with your workplace culture.


  • Micromanagement at work includes excessive supervision or control over employees' work and processes while providing only a limited delegation of responsibilities. This type of culture creates an environment of mistrust and disrespect where employees fear their superiors and do things out of compulsion.

Lack of work-life balance 

  • When work demands start ruling and consuming an employee’s entire life, it leads to burnout, stress, decreased job satisfaction, and increased employee turnover. Employees who never unplug are headed on a path that could risk their overall health and happiness, triggering multiple factors that contribute to a negative workplace culture.

Bullying, harassment, and workplace mobbing 

  • A negative workplace culture can enable bullying, harassment, and workplace mobbing, creating an unsafe and uncomfortable work environment. If your HR department has received multiple reports of inappropriate employee behavior, this could be a sign of a deeper-rooted, persistent problem with your company culture.

Costs of a negative workplace culture

A toxic workplace is one of the primary reasons why employees quit their jobs, and turnover is extremely expensive. When you take into account all the lost productivity and replacement costs, some employers estimate the price to replace an employee is anywhere from three to four times the position’s salary.

Unfortunately, a negative workplace culture is not uncommon in the United States. A 2019 SHRM study found that:

  • 1 in 4 U.S. employees dread going to work, don’t feel safe voicing their opinions about work-related issues, or don’t feel valued and respected at work.
  • 1 in 5 U.S. workers have reported searching for a new job due to their workplace culture, ultimately increasing employee turnover.
  • 3 in 10 Americans said their workplace culture had impacted their daily lives, making them irritable at home.

If your business has any signs of a negative workplace culture, your company’s productivity, bottom line, and overall success may be at risk. 

What does a positive workplace culture look like?

In contrast to a negative workplace culture, a positive workplace culture is a work environment where employees feel respected, valued, supported, and motivated. These workers are engaged in their work as it promotes open communication, collaboration, and teamwork. 

Having a positive workplace culture is manifest by any combination of the following:

Low employee turnover

  • Employees who feel connected to the company’s values and mission and have positive relationships with their colleagues are more likely to stay long-term. Having a low employee turnover rate can be a clear indication of a positive workplace culture. 

High morale 

  • A positive workplace culture can lead to high morale among employees and increased motivation to work. Improving morale and motivation can result in productivity flourishing and higher quality work. 

Trust and autonomy

  • Instilling trust and autonomy in the workplace can create an environment where employees feel valued and empowered. Mutual trust and respect among co-workers can decrease employee turnover and motivate employees to do their best work. 

Communication and transparency 

  • Open and honest communication in the workplace is the best way to solve problems, gather feedback, and improve workplace culture. Prioritizing open communication and transparency can help employees feel valued, informed, and included in important decision-making processes. 

Collaboration and teamwork 

  • By fostering collaboration and teamwork in the workplace, employees can feel more connected as they work together, share common goals, and support each other in their work. 

Work-life balance 

  • A positive workplace culture goes hand-in-hand with work-life balance. Offering employees the flexibility and support needed to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life can help reduce employee turnover. 

Recognition and appreciation 

  • Recognizing and appreciating employees for their hard work goes a long way in creating a supportive and encouraging work environment. Employee recognition and achievement initiatives can encourage employees to continue learning and developing their skills. 

Workplace culture is influenced by leadership and organizational structure and can improve teamwork, morale, and productivity. Most importantly, a positive workplace culture reduces employee stress, improves job satisfaction, and enhances work performance. 

At the end of the day, having a positive workplace culture helps you attract and retain top talent, motivate employees to be productive and innovative, increase client satisfaction, lower your employee turnover, and ultimately improve your bottom line.

Enrich your workplace culture 

Investing in a positive workplace culture can help you retain top talent and boost overall morale and productivity. To improve your workplace culture, start by instilling a sense of belonging among all staff members. Find out what your employees value and discover ways to motivate and keep them engaged.

A positive workplace culture can be enhanced through social events, networking opportunities, and career development programs. When employees feel like they are part of a supportive team, they are more likely to be invested in their work. 

PEOs and workplace culture

A positive workplace culture is key to retaining employees and increasing job satisfaction, but many small and midsize businesses feel strapped by a tight budget and/or overwhelmed with where to begin. The answer may be as simple as partnering with a professional employer organization, or PEO.

Small and midsize businesses typically choose to partner with a PEO to simplify their day-to-day workplace processes. While they receive immediate relief from mundane transactional tasks like employee paperwork, payroll, benefits administration, employment taxes, workers’ comp, and so on, they also gain valuable HR support. 

This HR support is provided by a certified HR expert who helps your in-house HR or office manager develop initiatives to help your employees thrive. They will also help you establish clear channels for communication, provide performance feedback, and facilitate employee recognition programs that will contribute to a positive workplace culture.

Don't settle for a toxic workplace culture that drives valuable employees away. Our experts at Stratus HR can help you create a positive, inclusive environment that boosts morale and productivity. Book a consultation today to find out how.

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