toxic workplace

The price of a toxic workplace

According to the marketing jobs firm Future Work, around quarter of all employees believe they are employed in a toxic workplace. And it’s driving them to quit.

by Nick Band

With a renewed focus on quality of life since the pandemic, more and more people are turning their back on the toxic workplace with bullying bosses, poor pay and unappreciative management.  They know they can easily find another job, given the global shortage of talent.

Toxicity in the workplace can come from many sources, not just a bullying culture. Poor communication which keeps staff guessing and gossiping tends to create suspicion and resentment. It’s like working in the dark. The root cause of toxicity comes from the top from bosses who play the blame game or have unreasonable expectations. This bad feeling cascades down through the workplace and spreads like a virus. People end up dreading coming to work and underperform when they are there.

In a recent report, “The State of Workplace Harassment,” it found that 44% of full-time employees surveyed had experienced harassment in their workplace, and 34% said they had left a job in the past because of unresolved harassment issues.

Of course, its not always the boss who is to blame. Many businesses are home to agent-provocateurs who stir up discontent amongst their colleagues, embarrass them and deliberately start damaging rumours.

The signs of a toxic workplace are obvious. So, watch out if your workplace shows any of these signs:

Late starters and early leavers

Lots of meetings behind closed doors

Disengaged and stressed colleagues

Poor quality of work

High levels of sickness

High turnover of staff

Poor communication

What to do if you feel you are in a toxic workplace

If your company has an HR department or a process for raising issues, make sure you report you feelings.

Confront the person causing the toxicity. This is hard to do but is often successful as many bullies don’t know they are doing it

Remember bullying itself is not illegal but harassment is

ACAS has produced this informative guide for employees.

Finally, remember you have the right to walk away. The jobs market favours the employee right now, so don’t fear the prospect of moving on.

In an era when staff retention should be the number one priority for business owners, being unpleasant has a high price.