Is Your Company Culture Toxic Or Remarkable?

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John Doe

Patrice Barber, CEO of Career CNX and National Speaker

Is your company at risk of losing its most important team members?

Financial services and professional services, which mostly consist of accounting and consulting firms. are leaving their jobs at an increasing rate in 2022 according to a recent MIT Sloan Management Review report.  According to CNBC, “ More than 60% of workers who quit jobs in the consumer/retail and finance/insurance fields either switched industries or quit the workforce entirely, compare with 54% of workers in health care and education who made the switch.”

What is the strongest indicator that you may have a problem?

Toxic company culture.

If your company is perceived to have a poor or toxic company culture, your company is at higher risk of losing valuable staff. Poor company culture includes employees feeling disrespected, not being heard, opinions not being valued,  and perceived unethical behavior among company management.

Of course, company culture is not the only factor. Other factors include:

  • Job insecurity and reorganization
  • High-stress jobs and industries, such as those involved in cutting-edge technologies
  • Failure to recognize high-performing employees properly
  • Response to the recent pandemic

Corporate culture is the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is
10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover, according to the Great Place to Work organization. 

Quick Quitting

Workers have become much less likely to put up with daily interactions that they see as poor management or an unhealthy work-life balance, resulting in the latest trend “quick quitting”

According to Forbes, “First came “quiet quitting,” then “quiet firing.” Now a new phenomenon is taking the workforce by storm, and it’s called “quick quitting.” It’s a term that refers to unhappy U.S. workers being more comfortable leaving their new jobs rather than waiting a year or more to make a change.”

According to “Workforce Insights” published on LinkedIn, workers are spending less time at each job in industries that are considered to be more traditionally white-collar, like tech, financial services, management consulting, and professional services, which mostly consist of accounting and consulting firms. Skills for workers in these typically well-paid industries are in-demand, so there’s a sense of leverage for those seeking out a new role.

Many of these employees are leaving because they feel the company is not supporting them and their goals. 

The labor market is still strong – unemployment claims are still near historic lows. There were also 11.2 million job openings at the end of July 2022—approximately two jobs for every unemployed person.¹

In other words, it’s a tight labor market which means job hunters have the upper hand with access to a wide variety of opportunities.

Your company culture

If you haven’t provided a simple survey to determine what your team members think about your company and current policies as well as day to day interactions. That is an excellent first step. 

According the Perceptyx, key types of questions to capture anonymous responses for include: 

Probing the culture index.

 These questions include 

  • How well-defined and understood is the culture?
  • To what extent do decisions and behaviors align to the values?
  • Is the culture contributing to performance and business success or impeding it?

The Competing Values Framework

These questions define and quantify the traits driving the culture. Plot the answers on a  graph flexibility versus control on one axis and internal versus external focus on the other. 

  • On a scale of 1 – 5, how receptive is management to new ideas?
  • On a scale of 1 -5, how empowered are employees?

Behavior-Based Culture Measures

These items are often based on the company values, employee value proposition, or desired aspects of the future culture that organizations want to develop. These survey items leverage an agreement or frequency scale to provide insight into how the behaviors are adopted and lived throughout the company.

Each company has their own priorities based on their values.

Qualitative Research

Don’t forget the open-ended questions. For example:

  • What words would you use to describe the company culture?
  • What would you change about the culture?

These types of questions help develop an overall understanding of the employee experience.

After surveying employees, it’s time to implement any necessary corrective actions.

Fixing company culture

According to “How to Fix a Toxic Culture” written for the MIT Sloan Management Review, “Toxic workplaces are not only costly — they are also common. Our research on large U.S. employers found that approximately 1 in 10 workers experience their workplace culture as toxic, an estimate that is in line with other studies.” ²

There is no one-size-fits-all method for repairing a toxic culture. To get started review your organization in these areas:

  • Quality of leadership – are your leaders committed to fixing the culture:
  • Social Norms – are the social norms your leaders support contributing to the toxic culture?
  • Work Design – is the work unduly stressful? Are there crystal-clear job descriptions?
  • Gender and Race – Is mistreatment based on race or gender inherent in the culture?
  • Demographics – Are certain segments of the workforce (based on age, tenure, or formal education) allowed behaviors others are not? 

Fixing a company culture takes time and commitment. It’s important to set goals and maintain accountability among all leaders. 

Leadership is the best predictor of company culture. Your management team can make or break your employee base. Be sure to know if your best employees are leaving because of toxic company culture.

Want more information about leadership? Check out this article: Sympathetic or Just Plain Mean? Insider Tips for Difficult Conversations

Career CNX is here to help. If you are concerned more of your team may be planning an exit than you are aware of, we help with a proactive approach that builds in the frequent conversations that act as a relief valve in uncertain times and create authenticity in long-term lateral, alternate, or upward career planning.

Schedule a call with us here, and let’s discuss how to increase employee engagement and reduce turnover.

¹ “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed Dec. 6, 2021, The data represents seasonally adjusted quits for total nonfarm employers in the U.S. from April through September 2021. (edited) 

² A comprehensive study found that 13% of U.S. employees encountered workplace aggression on a weekly basis. See A.C.H. Schat, M.R. Frone, and E.K. Kelloway, “Prevalence of Workplace Aggression in the U.S. Workforce: Findings From a National Study,” in “Handbook of Workplace Violence,” eds. E.K. Kelloway, J. Barling, and J.J. Hurrell (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 2006), 47-89. In a Gallup poll, 6% of U.S. and Canadian employees reported that they had been disrespected in the previous 24-hour period. See “State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report,” PDF file (Washington, D.C.: Gallup, 2021), Go Back To Citation ^

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