Toxic Work Culture Drives One in Five Employees to Quit

20% of American workers quit their jobs due to toxic workplace culture, costing US organizations $223 billion between 2014 and 2019. The Great Resignation continues, with 4 million people quitting in October 2022, citing reasons like salary and disrespect.

Quadri Adejumo
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Toxic Work Culture Drives One in Five Employees to Quit

Toxic Work Culture Drives One in Five Employees to Quit

A staggering 20% of American workers areleaving their jobsdue to toxic workplace culture, resulting in a massive cost of $223 billion to U.S. organizations between 2014 and 2019. This alarming trend, known as the Great Resignation, continues to rise, with 4 million people quitting their jobs in October 2022 alone, citing reasons such as salary, lack of advancement opportunities, and feeling disrespected.

Why this matters: The Great Resignation has far-reaching implications for the economy, as it can lead to reduced productivity, increased recruitment costs, and a loss of skilled workers. Moreover, it highlights the need for companies to prioritize employee well-being and create a positive work culture to attract and retain top talent.

Toxic workplace culture can manifest in various ways, including lack of productivity, negative attitude towards change or innovation, disrespect for boundaries such as contacting staff outside working hours, lack of trust between team members and colleagues, and lack of transparency about mental health and wellbeing. According to a recent report by the American Psychological Association, 43% of workers worry that disclosing a mental health condition would have a negative impact on their career, despite 77% reporting work-related stress and 31% experiencing emotional exhaustion.

The personal experience ofCalli Nguyen, a 24-year-old worker, fired after less than a week, highlights the importance of recognizing red flags and prioritizing mental health in the workplace. Despite seeing negative Glassdoor and Google reviews, Nguyen took a job as the director of digital marketing for a medical spa. However, her boss's refusal to listen to her advice and unrealistic demands led to her feeling overwhelmed. On her third day, when Nguyen expressed confusion and the need for a break, her boss fired her on the spot.

In hindsight, Nguyen views getting fired as a blessing in disguise. The experience taught her the importance of protecting her mental health and recognizing that not every opportunity is a good one. Nguyen, a member of Gen Z, believes that her generation is not afraid to speak up against toxic work environments and demand respect, proper training, and a positive work culture.

To avoid falling into another toxic workplace, job seekers must conduct due diligence before accepting a job offer. One tip is to contact former employees via social media to gain insight into the company culture. Additionally, job seekers can explore companies that prioritize employee wellbeing, such as Inland Empire Health Plan, DataAnnotation, and Voto Latino, which offer extensive benefits, flexible work arrangements, and a positive work environment.

The toxic work culture phenomenon is not limited to the United States. Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report reveals that 85% of employees worldwide are not fully engaged, with disengagement costing the US economy an estimated $550 billion annually in lost productivity. Companies with highly engaged teams enjoy a 21% higher profitability than their counterparts, emphasizing the importance of tackling disengagement and creating a positive, inclusive work culture to inspire a workforce that is truly invested in the company's vision and long-term success.

As the Great Resignation continues, employers must adapt to the changing workforce and prioritize flexibility, growth, and change. By fostering a healthy work environment that values employee well-being and mental health, organizations can retain top talent, boost productivity, and ultimately thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • 20% of American workers quit due to toxic workplace culture, costing $223B from 2014-2019.
  • The Great Resignation leads to reduced productivity, increased recruitment costs, and lost talent.
  • Toxic culture manifests in lack of trust, disrespect, and negative attitudes towards change.
  • Employees prioritize mental health, flexibility, and growth, driving the need for positive work cultures.
  • Companies with engaged teams enjoy 21% higher profitability and long-term success.