VIDEO: How to Fix a Toxic Workplace, with Jim Rembach

christian montes

Christian Montes
Executive Director of Sales at NobelBIz

Jim Rembach, host of the Fast Leader Podcast and longimte business leader talks about how to understand the prevalence of toxic workplace culture and what you can do as a manager to prevent or fix that.

christian montes

Jim Rembach
President of CX Global Media

Let’s chat about how YOUR contact center can be successful!

Since Jim Rembach, our recent podcast guest, is an expert on dealing with toxic workplace culture and behavior, naturally one of the main topics we covered during the episode was how to fix a toxic workplace.

And Jim had some eye-openers for us. After which Christian chimed in with some great insights of his own!

Let’s dive right in:

This article is part of our podcast series. Listen to it here:

Check out more bits from this episode here.

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Christian: I know there’s mentions of toxic culture or things like not allowing or really giving people the opportunity to have a position in life where they’re able to excel or get to the next level.

Do you see yourself or do you see moments in time where there were unpleasant experiences that just really gave you a bad taste in your mouth about the industry? Or maybe pieces within an organization that made you go: this is wrong, this has to get fixed?

1. Don’t Give Too Many Tasks

Jim Rembach:

It goes back to that same thing. It’s taken me a lifetime to figure it out – but when I couldn’t work on helping people to perform better and I had so many things on my plate and we were really talking and focusing in on efficiency, efficiency, efficiency you know and getting faster at what we were doing and I was just overladen with tasks to do and I couldn’t develop – that’s when things fell apart for me. I had a lot of frustration.

2. Focus on Continuous Learning

Because what happens in that situation if you don’t have a culture and environment that is focused on continuous learning is you have a lot of repairs. Your whole quality program is dealing with nothing but errors.

3. Be Mindful of When People Start to Complain

And then if you’re only focusing in on errors than you start having a whole exception processing problem because people start complaining. And it’s just a downward spiral. So you have to continuously focus in on developing the skills of your people and that will help galvanize some of those other issues that could actually bring your environment down.

4. Look at the Bigger Picture


That’s great and I think that’s so true. When you just focus on the problems and you don’t allow yourself to look at the bigger picture and allow yourself to see where there are areas of improvement, it really can put you down a rabbit hole and not really allow you to see what’s in front of your face.

5. Think about: Morale, Burnout, Turnover


So think about that from a [contact center] industry perspective: for decades, we’ve had a turnover and morale and burnout problem. For decades. I mean – contact centers were first really created in Omaha, Nebraska because after WWII wee had all this communication infrastructure that was left behind.

And so that’s where we started contact centers and it’s grown from there. Ever since those contact centers were started after WWII we’ve had issues with turnover, and burnout, and morale.

Many executives are shaking their heads probably wishing they would’ve opted to reorganize their IT department before COVID-19. This will result in a lot of focus on IT solutions after the crisis is over.

6. Don’t Forget Managers

Where does Gallup who studies all of these workplace cultures say that the reason is. They found, in 80 years of research – one reason – and it has to do with the manager. 80% of the reason why people leave or they’re dissatisfied is the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor.

Yet when you start looking at how we develop our frontline leaders in the contact center, it typically goes something like this: “Hey you’re a great agent, you know tomorrow you’re going to be responsible for the performance of these 15 people. Just show them what you do and you’ll be great!”

7. Not Everyone Can Be a Manager

Those skills of being a great agent do not translate into being a great online supervisor, being a great leader. You may be able to manage things but you’re going to have to lead, you’re going to have to do both. And there’s six core competencies that are required in order for you to be successful.

But unfortunately, we continue to repeat this stupidity – it’s insane: “you’re a great agent, you’re going to be a great supervisor” – no you’re not, it doesn’t translate!


And it’s interesting that you mentioned that because it’s true in almost any position. Just because you’re good at sales, doesn’t mean you’re good at running a sales team. Just because you’re good at one thing, doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at teaching it. Not every player becomes the coach.

8. Leaders Need to Inspire

And it’s really important that you nail that on the head because there are so many times where just because someone’s been in a position for a certain period of time, or they performed at a certain level, there’s this automatic consideration that somehow they’re able to get other people not only to do it and learn it, but to be inspired to do it by that person.

To be a leader versus a manager is so different and it’s so great that you bring that up because turnover is a huge issue in the call center space.

9. People Don’t Quit their Jobs, they Quit their Managers

And there’s that saying – people don’t quit jobs, they quit their bosses. Right? And you really have to take that to heart to understand that: if you’re putting people in positions to fail from day one and you’re not giving them a career path that allows them to truly grow and be successful then you’re always going to be  setting over that churn and failure.

Summing Up

So that’s about it! We heard some great advice from both Jim and Christian this bit. Jump right in and listen to the whole episode on how emotional intelligence can empower you to be a better leader.

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