How a negative workplace culture can affect your bottom line…

workplace culture

2 weeks ago I read an interesting article on the CIPD website claiming that nearly half of all employees hear discriminatory remarks in the workplace every week and this rises to over 70% if you measure it on a monthly basis. More than a third of these discriminatory comments were made directly to individuals.

For those on the ‘giving’ end of the remarks, this might all seem like harmless office banter and you as a leader might agree – but for those on the receiving end, the impact could be significant. A drop in confidence, a move to distance themselves rather than enter into conflict, a reluctance to turn up to work and internal battles around their own self-worth. All this from just a few comments to one person. Just imagine what the effects could be on your organisation if discrimination is as widespread as the CIPD report suggests.

Sick leave

People who are discriminated against at work are more likely to take sick leave. In part this could be to avoid further discrimination but also a lack of enthusiasm for the role and a lack of commitment to the organisation will play their part. If discrimination is ripe within your office culture – this could be costing your organisation thousands, if not hundreds of thousands every year.

Staff Attrition

What does a person do when they’ve taken a day off to avoid discriminatory comments? They look for a new job of course and even if they’re not taking time off, they’ll be doing that anyway. You could be losing some of your best people to discrimination and that means not only are you losing great talent from your organisation, you’ll have to hire and train new ones and that costs money.


Costly, embarrassing, bad for morale and don’t forget the brand damage that goes with it which will have an impact on your sales and customer retention.


People who feel bad about themselves or feel angry because they’ve been discriminated against, don’t make for very productive workers. Low confidence impedes their ability to communicate effectively, fear of further remarks distances them from their colleagues and sadness and disappointment saps their motivation to try hard. The result when discrimination becomes prevalent is disconnected, lethargic teams, poor staff morale and rising workplace conflict.

Creativity and Innovation

Creativity and innovation are some of the most highly prized assets in successful organisations. Lose those and you start to fall behind your competitors, you start to miss deadlines, deliver below par products, lose sales, lose customers and ultimately you’re no longer profitable… and that leads to job losses, workplace conflict, more tribunals and who know where it will end.

Whether you like it or not – discrimination is an unwelcome part of your organisations culture. It feeds off of the conversations (or the lack of them), the interactions, the tone that people take with each other and the moods that people carry with them. But although we might never be able to fully eradicate discrimination entirely, we can minimise it by taking proactive measures, by focusing on inclusion and most importantly, having better conversations.

My name is Patrick Moulsdale and I work with leaders and groups to raise consciousness, develop teams and resolve conflict. If you would like to understand more about how I can work with your organisation, please contact me through the form at the top of this page.


The invisible forces that shape the behaviour of your organisation

group dynamics

You’re probably sitting comfortably in your office at the moment, surrounded by busy colleagues and tasked with a thousand things to complete before you head out of the office for the day – but can you remember your first day in the role?

For most of us, it was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Excitement with the opportunity that lay ahead, the endless possibilities and the journey into the unknown. Nervousness with your new surroundings, new ways of doing things and new people. Would you fit in, would your new colleagues like you and would this be the role where you could finally spread your wings and show your true potential?

These are common thoughts… in fact they’re more common than you might think. Journey all the way back to the late 1950’s and you’ll find a leading American psychologist called William Shutz who developed a theory around just this. He suggested that within a group, each individual has three core needs that they want the group to meet:

  • The need for inclusion – The key question for each member is where and how do I fit into this team?
  • The need for control – The key question here is how much influence can I exercise in this group and how much personal autonomy do I have to give up to be part of this group?
  • The need for affection/openness. Whereas ‘Inclusion’ is about the decision to belong or not, the ‘affection’ phase is about building emotional ties and deciding on the degree of closeness within the team. This is referred to as ‘intimacy’ or ‘norming’ in other models

So when you joined your new team, it’s highly likely that your nervousness was based around these three core needs. More than that, your behaviour within the group – even now is unconsciously motivated by your desire to meet these needs. But perhaps more interesting still, is that your entrance into the group will have caused the group dynamics to change as people’s own needs adjusted to the new person.

There’s no need to feel bad though. The reality is, that when a group is viewed as a whole – it is always in a state of flux. As well as the personnel changes that occur within a group, our individual needs change over time… different things become important, work can take a more front facing or background role in our lives and our values might also change as we experience more of what life has to offer us. All of these will have an impact on the dynamics of a group and the larger the group, the more complex the dynamics become.

What’s important as leaders, is to be aware that we can influence the way a team or group behaves, if we recognise the needs that motivate individuals. In doing this, we’re able to lessen the energy and the time that individuals devote to negative thoughts and conflict situations and the result of this is a happy and high performing team, department and even organisation.

My name is Patrick Moulsdale. I am a (group) conflict management expert and professional mediator with over 15 years’ experience. If you are experiencing the effects of conflict within your organisation, contact me today through the contacts page on my website.