Toxic Workplace Cultures Hurt Workers and Company Profits

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By: Beth Mirza for SHRM, Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

Toxic workplaces—where employees dread going to work, don’t feel they can be honest with their manager, and may witness or experience sexual harassment or age discrimination—are a primary reason workers quit their jobs. They often hold the managers in their workplaces responsible for creating the toxicity.

In July, SHRM commissioned research on toxic workplace cultures and what happens to the employees who work in them. “The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture: How Culture Impacts the Workforce—and the Bottom Line,” released today, found that many workers consider culture and managers to be closely connected. In fact, 58 percent of employees who quit a job due to workplace culture say that their managers are the main reason they ultimately left. And the cost of this turnover? $223 billion in the past five years.

“Lack of communication [between managers and workers] is a leading contributor to the culture issues facing many organizations,” the SHRM report notes. Managers are in a prime position to build strong and positive workplaces by listening to employees, holding workers and leaders accountable for their actions, setting expectations, and clarifying information.

To help create these great workplaces, SHRM has announced it is “launching new learning and development programs for People Managers in 2020, including a People Manager Qualification (PMQ) to aid new managers in developing soft skills, leadership skills and the emotional intelligence needed for building high-performing teams.” With strong managers in place, SHRM says, HR professionals can take on more strategic leadership in their companies.

SHRM will introduce the research today in New York City at a Workplace Convos & Coffee pop-up coffeehouse at the Oculus at the World Trade Center. SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, and other SHRM leaders will talk with business leaders and government officials about the effects workplace culture has on workers, the workplace and society. You can watch the event live today at 11 a.m. ET on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

Below are more takeaways from the research:


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