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How to Fix a Toxic Work Culture: Using The Culture Fix® Alive, Thrive & Drive Methodology

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2023

Firstly, At The Culture Fix®, we strive to steer clear of the term "toxic." Our intention is not to dismiss or invalidate the negative experiences that employees may face in their workplaces. Instead, we believe that using derogatory language can hinder our ability to focus on finding solutions. Our primary goal is to assist companies in stripping away superficial identities and reaching the heart of their core values.

Before you begin this important work, recognize it involves shedding the label you have assigned to your company or even yourself as an associate or business leader, by refraining from using the term "toxic." Instead, make your statements solution-focused by stating, "I strive to better the behaviors or systems that my team or I are engaged in.” This shift in perspective allows for a more constructive approach towards addressing and improving the dynamics within the organization.

Additionally, it is important to provide clarity regarding the origin of the name The Culture Fix®. The company name “The Culture Fix" is derived from our belief that culture can be enhanced and improved. It's not about fixing something that's broken or flawed, but rather recognizing that every culture can benefit from positive transformations to boost business success. Additionally, the name carries a secondary significance—a craving for a fix of culture. Just like everyone enjoys a refreshing fix of something wonderful, we offer a rejuvenating dose of culture that leaves a lasting impact.

Our sole objective is to provide you with? the tools and resources, through our proven, step-by-step culture transformation framework, and assist you in navigating a process of uncovering your core values and core purpose. 

Step #1 Bring Your Culture Alive

So that your culture is remarkable and referable.

Discover. Bring to light the unique sentiments of your culture, by using surveys, interviews and observation. 

The first step is taking accountability and gaining clarity. What are the behaviors that are creating an unsatisfactory or negative work experience? A comprehensive assessment is essential in diagnosing the underlying causes. Open dialogue, active listening, and empathy in an effort to foster a culture of trust and psychological safety within the organization is essential. This involves gathering employee feedback through surveys, interviews, and anonymous reporting mechanisms. It also requires examining the organizational culture, leadership styles, communication patterns, and structural issues that contribute to the current culture. 

Before we begin our Culture Fulfillment program, we always begin by sending an eNPS survey to the business leaders and associates of the company. eNPS Score stands for Employee Net Promoter Score, and it’s an evaluation method utilized to assess employee loyalty, satisfaction, and enthusiasm towards a company. 

An example of questions, sourced from Gallup, are: 

  1. Do you know what is expected of you at work? 
  2. Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right? 
  3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? 
  4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work? 
  5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person? 
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development? 
  7. At work, do your opinions seem to count? 
  8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important? 
  9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work? 

10. Do you have a best friend at work? 

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress? 

12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

Through this process, we are able to identify the specific areas that require our attention in terms of Culture Fulfillment, establishing a baseline for improvement. Additionally, we administer the same survey a few months after implementing the Culture Fulfillment program to assess the progress made by both the company and its associates.

But you don’t need to be a client of ours to access our survey tools. Are you interested in evaluating and improving your company's culture? Our Culture Checkup is a quick and easy tool that can help.

With just 20 questions, you'll be able to measure the strength of your culture and pinpoint areas for improvement. We cover everything from clearly defined core values to their integration into everyday conversations and decision-making. The results will provide you with a percentage rating of your culture's strength and offer actionable steps to make it even stronger. The checkup takes only 5 minutes, so try it out!

Once there’s a high-level understanding of the current corporate culture, and the team has established a shared commitment from top-level management to address company culture, it's time to begin the real, and very exciting, work!

As we dive deep into the transformative Alive, Thrive & Drive Methodology of Culture Fulfillment, know that these tools are customizable to your company's unique needs and goals. 

As mentioned previously, it is essential to evaluate and assess the current state of your culture. Though that section frames this process through the lens of accountability, remember that it’s just as important to identify the great parts of your culture and company as well. 

Discern. Pinpoint the specific, unique values that define you, by feeling into and giving life to your core beliefs. We call core values, CoreVals™. 

Companies that grapple with cultural challenges often fall into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Companies that lack well-defined values.
  2. Companies that are unaware of their established values.
  3. Companies that fail to align their actions with their established values.

Frequently, the root cause lies in the values themselves. They may not carry enough significance, lacking specificity. Sometimes, the values may be aspirational rather than reflecting the inherent values that should be nurtured within the company. 

At the heart of The Culture Fix® lies the emphasis on creating and breathing life into your values, which we refer to as CoreVals™. Choose words that hold significant meaning - that can be encoded in the DNA of your company. Crafting purposeful and meaningful statements helps everyone understand the importance of their work and why it matters. It’s important to be specific, and to make sure the words truly resonate with the mission and already exist, to some degree, in the culture of your organization. 

Describe. Draft and wordsmith our cultural definition and our descriptive behaviors by musing, testing and honoring.

Connect your CoreVals to the folklore of your company. By sharing your organization's philosophies and the stories that shape its history, your team will continually remember and develop a deeper connection with your CoreVals. Lastly, employ descriptive language. While words like "proud" and "passionate" are great, a robust set of CoreVals needs to clarify the intended actions and behaviors associated with those words.

Embrace honesty when reflecting on your organization's story, acknowledging that the challenges faced in shaping your culture are a part of your history. It is important to recognize that many companies experience difficult periods, and the resulting high stress can have a significant impact on the workplace. Take pride in taking ownership of these challenges and showcasing your resiliency, allowing it to become a valuable component of your authentic narrative. After all, everyone loves a comeback story!

Step #2 Make It Thrive 

So that your culture is memorable and shareable.

Design. Apply graphics and imagery to enhance memorability and recall, by using artists and the arts.

If you believe that simply documenting your CoreVals on paper is sufficient, that may be part of the cause of a struggling workplace. If your values remain confined to an onboarding document or written on whiteboard, chances are they won't be fully embraced. In fact, we find that about 60% of employees in companies that have core values, don’t know their core values. 

If the majority of the workplace doesn’t know their core values, how can they live in accordance with them? 

That's why, once your organization has settled on a concise and action-oriented set of CoreVals, it becomes crucial to bring them to life through creative assets. Creating visually appealing displays that showcase your core values and their descriptors is essential. Without highlighting CoreVal words in a graphical manner and displaying them prominently, they may not truly exist within the culture. So, let your creativity flow! The possibilities are not limited to images and icons alone. Consider what will resonate with your stakeholders, whether it's creative characters, a catchy theme song, or other innovative approaches.

Pictured: The Culture Fix Academy’s CoreChart™ including our specific CoreVals™

Decree. Host your launch event and create our culture of continuance, by establishing a perpetuating language and meeting cadence.

When introducing your new CoreVals, it can be incredibly powerful to have a launch event that celebrates and involves the team. This signifies a turn in the chapter. The beckoning of a new era for your company. Of course, challenges will still arise, but now the company knows itself & has a bright new direction for the future. It also commemorates the progress of associates at the company, and gratitude for those who will join this initiative. 

During this event, it is essential to deliver a compelling speech that highlights the personal significance of these values to you. This occasion serves as an additional opportunity to make your CoreVals more memorable and impactful. By hosting the launch event, you can establish a culture of continuity, supported by a language and meeting cadence that ensures the ongoing presence and reinforcement of your CoreVals.

Dictate. Perfect our CoreVals address together with our defining stories, by rehearsing and reiterating.


Use It To Drive Performance

So that your culture is palpable and sustainable.

Devise. Rank and rate your team, establish hiring and unhiring practices, by your CoreScore, CoreWorkflows and Core People Processes. 

This includes implementing regular and transparent communication channels, such as town hall meetings, team huddles, and feedback mechanisms, fosters a culture of open communication. It is equally important to ensure that employees have access to information that affects their work and involve them in decision-making processes.

Additionally, establishing clear procedures for addressing conflicts is crucial. We all know that if issues are not addressed, they linger and negatively impact cooperation, creativity and the joy of work. Always better to step into the conflict rather than avoid it but employees are rarely equipped for these conversations. This is just one of the many ways core values can be an invaluable resource. When you have your company CoreVals™ written out, they can function as a neutral & clear reference point. This empowers you & your colleagues to step into difficult conversations. 

While these practices prove particularly effective as your organization expands and welcomes new members, it is equally important to establish a process for removing employees who have a detrimental impact on your culture. We prefer to use the term "unhire" instead of the commonly used term "firing" since it carries a less demeaning connotation. "Unhiring" implies a more mutually agreed-upon action and recognizes that the employer or hiring manager bears some responsibility for a potential hiring misstep.

When it comes to “fixing a toxic work culture,” unhiring can be an essential step. A company culture overhaul is only effective if all team members are on board, and all it takes is one change-adverse employee to spoil the fruits of the process for everyone. 


While it is unrealistic to expect perfect alignment among all team members at all times, we have devised tools such as Catch & Correct™ to address this challenge. Catch & Correct™ involves utilizing your core values as a neutral reference point when an associate's actions deviate from the organization's values. By promptly identifying and addressing such behavior, we can prevent it from escalating into a more significant issue for the company. This approach helps safeguard against potential setbacks in your cultural progress. We recommend practicing Catch & Correct™. We know roleplay helps to demonstrate what the tool would look and sound like in actuality. 

The Culture Fix® also recommends implementing a Notice and Nominate program, which revolves around recognizing and appreciating actions aligned with your CoreVals™. Whether conducted on a weekly or monthly basis, this initiative encourages stakeholders to nominate their peers whenever they observe them exemplifying a CoreVal. By democratizing the process, we foster creativity and make these efforts more relatable by connecting them to the collective mission. This approach also strengthens the sense of connection among employees, leading to a more enriching and collaborative work environment.

Deliver - Decipher your purpose or why to capture the meaning of your work.

A recent report by Gartner shared that, “The era of the employment contract, when a worker provided services purely in exchange for monetary compensation, is over. Employees want a more human employment value proposition: They want employers to recognize their value and provide value to them on a human level. Monetary compensation is important for surviving, but deeper relationships, a strong sense of community and purpose-driven work are essential to thriving. This is the value that employees expect their employers to provide.”

It is essential to ensure that your employees have a clear understanding of their value and significance in contributing to the overall purpose and mission of the organization. By instilling a sense of purpose and meaning in their work, employees are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to achieving organizational goals. Recognizing and communicating the impact of their individual roles and efforts can help employees see the direct connection between their contributions and the success of the organization as a whole. This can be achieved through regular feedback, performance evaluations, and providing opportunities for employees to share their perspectives and insights. When employees feel valued and understand how their work aligns with the organization's purpose, they are more likely to be invested in their roles, display higher levels of productivity, and contribute to a positive and thriving work culture.

Determine - Measure the Return on Culture and continue to refresh and reinvest, by sustaining and enhancing.

Emphasizing company culture offers tangible financial advantages that significantly impact a company's profitability & productivity. We recently published a blog that breaks down how company culture directly impacts a business’s bottomline.

By nurturing a joyful work environment, companies can reap the benefits of enhanced productivity, improved employee retention, heightened customer satisfaction, attraction of top-tier talent, and a stronger brand reputation.

To establish a positive company culture, leadership commitment, effective communication, empowerment, recognition, and an inclusive approach are imperative. As the business landscape evolves, investing in company culture becomes a crucial determinant of success. By prioritizing their employees' well-being and fostering a favorable work environment, companies can tap into the lucrative potential of their organizational culture, positioning themselves for long-term growth and financial success. 


In conclusion, transforming a toxic work culture into a thriving and values-driven environment is a complex but necessary endeavor. At The Culture Fix®, we believe in focusing on solutions rather than labeling workplaces as toxic. By embracing a solution-focused mindset and acknowledging the significance of core values, companies can initiate the process of culture transformation. Through comprehensive assessments, open dialogue, and active listening, organizations can identify the behaviors and systems that contribute to a negative work experience. Implementing tools like eNPS surveys, Culture Checkup, and the Alive, Thrive & Drive Methodology of Culture Fulfillment, companies can uncover their core values and align their actions with them. 

By making core values memorable through creative assets and establishing a culture of continuity, organizations can ensure that their values are palpable and sustainable. Additionally, utilizing tools like Catch & Correct™ and Notice and Nominate™ fosters accountability and recognition of behaviors aligned with the core values. Ultimately, by infusing work with purpose and meaning and emphasizing the value of employees, companies can cultivate a positive work culture that leads to enhanced productivity, employee retention, customer satisfaction, talent attraction, and brand reputation. As businesses evolve, investing in company culture becomes an essential success factor, allowing organizations to thrive and secure long-term growth and prosperity.


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