Spotting the signs of workplace toxicity in the call center

Spotting the signs of workplace toxicity in the call center

James Glenn Gomez Published on January 15, 2018

angry woman with mad mob behind

How do you know if your call center is a toxic workplace?

There are many factors that can cause employee turnovers in the contact center. Sometimes it’s because the employees feel that there’s a lack of career advancement, or they think that the job’s monotonous, or they’ve became incredibly stressed from the intense pressure of the work environment. Sometimes, they even feel that the pay you give isn’t enough for them to stay. Working in a call center is already a stressful endeavor for employees. But maybe your workplace environment itself is what’s turning off your agents.

From the word itself, a toxic workplace can be described as a negative and low-key chaotic environment. It’s filled with office drama and other personal conflicts that can damage an employee’s productivity or morale. If you think about it, those working in demanding jobs, such as in the contact centers, are at risk of heart disease and depression. Then there’s also the increased chance of burnout and anxiety. Put two and two together and you got yourselves a nightmare of a workplace.

annoyed coworkers giving boss headache
Of course, you shouldn’t label a call center a toxic workplace immediately. Some people just plainly hate their jobs, unsatisfied, and feel pressured to work there just to support themselves. There’s a nuance whether it may or may not contribute to a workplace’s toxicity. But being able to identify the telltale signs of such negative environment can help you improve your workforce management and employee engagement.

•     Friends from higher places

close coworkers shoulder smiling

One known sign of toxic environment is when people move up the career ladder or get hired without going through the proper channels. Favoritism can also manifest in preferring one employee over another. In line with this, bosses who lean towards an agent tend to compliment that worker and overlook their mistakes. The same can’t be said of other employees who got the short end of the stick, always getting reprimanded at for the tiniest of errors.

•     Abusive bosses

boss screaming at employee with megaphone

In relation to the previous one, there’s also the terrorizing supervisor/manager/team leader. These higher-ups tend to overwork their subordinates and demoralize them. These power-tripping bosses are often tyrannical, bullying agents to get their way. There are also bosses who cross the line, harassing their employees.

•     Inconsistent and obstructive policies

coworkers frustrated with headache at work

Policies should regulate and enhance the work environment, not hinder people from doing work efficiently. Such regulations can be tedious to work with. As a result, your contact center agents tend to get vexed from all the red tape and inconsistent rules and hoops they have to go through to help out a customer.

•     An unprofessional work culture

annoyed employee with headache with gossiping coworkers in the back

It’s a tough workforce management problem to handle if the whole organizational culture is toxic. When there’s a lack of communication and professionalism among coworkers, the work environment you’ve thoroughly built can crumble slowly. This toxicity can seep through tasks; personal issues can cause rifts among your workers, causing a lack of teamwork to get the job done. Such work culture can also be prone to blaming, backstabbing and sabotaging.

A toxic workplace can cause undue harm to every employee in your call center. This negative culture should always be avoided in order to maintain a good quality of life in the workplace. Employees can be engaged and driven to work in a positive environment that allows them to thrive. That’s what you should strive for.

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