Employee turnover is a major source of concern for many businesses because it threatens their reputation, productivity, and performance. While different companies may describe and categorise employee turnover differently, the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the rate at which employees leave a company and are replaced by new employees.”
Turnover can generally be classified into two types:
There could be a variety of factors why employees may leave departments or organisations, including burnout, a negative work environment, lack of growth opportunities, a competitive offer, and negative feelings towards management.
It has since been discovered that the most common reason for employees leaving their jobs is due to a toxic work environment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management's report, 'The High Cost of Toxic Workplace Culture', 58% of employees who quit blamed their managers, and the turnover had also cost U.S employers more than $223 billion!
To gain a deeper understanding of this crucial problem that’s causing employee turnover, let's take a closer look at toxic workplace issues and what can be done to create a better workplace.
Toxic workplaces are marked by incompetent leadership, poor management skills, a weak rule of ethics, and poor communication. If these disruptions occur regularly, they could have a detrimental impact on both your physical and mental health.
A study of the UK workforce discovered that toxic cultures caused employees to be less engaged with their jobs, to suffer from anxiety as a direct result of workplace bullying, to seek therapy as a result of an issue they encountered at work, and to call in sick as a result of problematic behaviour they witnessed/experienced at work, among other things.
This is proof that when your job, your working environment, and the people you work with are all negative and distressing, they can begin to affect your life and lead to emotional exhaustion.
Moreover, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business, the link between poor health and poor workplace conditions is "significant, profound, and has been documented over decades." He also believes it’s a major health crisis, resulting in 120,000 extra deaths in the United States each year!
The hostile workplace and toxic culture will also result in low morale, conflict, negative outcomes, low productivity, inappropriate behaviour, unfair treatment, severe tension, and high turnover among employees. That being said, numerous situations can arise, causing employees to leave in search of a better opportunity.
There are plenty of examples of toxic workplace culture, ranging from office rumours and cliques, to misinformation and poor management. Be it managers, co-workers, and low-level employees, they all have the potential to create that unpleasant working environment.
To see if you’re dealing with toxic work issues, check out the following dysfunctional scenarios.
No matter what you do, whether it’s right or wrong, your boss will always find a way to negatively criticise you, making you feel down the majority of the time at work. To top it off, when he asks you to redo something or is dissatisfied with your work, he screams his lungs out at you until everyone outside his room can hear him.
You were never given a proper job description when you started, so you always do what's expected of you. Then, without realising it, you have multiple superiors telling you to do this and that, and you end up with so many tasks that aren't a priority or even related to your job role.
You did your best to finish and complete all tasks assigned to you, but you received no response after submitting your work. Worse, you only get negative feedback, and are asked to do the work again without any proper instructions. So, you end up figuring everything out on your own, and when you finally get it right, you get no credit at all.
There are employees of various ages and seniority levels in every workplace, but it becomes an issue when you constantly have to back down and give in to those who are older and/or have higher seniority than you. A junior executive employee shared, "Even though my senior executive is new and still needs to learn about what’s going on at the company, we can never agree on what's best because the senior always feels like she's in charge of EVERYTHING!"
The management or human resources department never provided a clear career path or opportunities for employees to advance up the ladder. Everyone is just doing the same thing over and over again, and no one is being sent to training to become better or to improve themselves.
No one knows the exact ratio for good work-life balance, but you'll know it's a problem when it begins to affect your health, relationships, and social connections. Some bosses believe that employees must answer to them at all times, even after office hours and on weekends/public holidays, especially now that some employees are working from home.
Everywhere you go in the office, you'll hear people talking about other employees, departments, management, and even you. You're also worried about offending anyone or saying anything inappropriate because anyone in the office could start snitching on you to the bosses behind your back. Simply put, no one in the office can be trusted.
Employees can't do their jobs properly if their bosses are giving them contradictory orders that are never in sync. For example, you're supposed to be working on a company brochure but got different instructions from the marketing director, the content lead, and the CEO. When something went wrong, everyone started blaming and pointing fingers at you for creating the brochure incorrectly.
When people only want to work with those close to them and refuse to collaborate with others who are not on the same page, the working environment has become toxic. You'll notice certain cliques or groups at work who will only hang out with each other during office hours and even after work.
The company implemented a few toxic workplace policies that appear to be overly strict and outdated, such as a strict dress code, non-flexible working hours, stringent medical leave policies, and making side jobs illegal. This can create a toxic environment by making employees feel unproductive and non-compliant.
Every employee enjoys working in an environment that inspires and motivates them to achieve their full potential. Regrettably, this isn't always the case. The list below will help you identify the different signs of a toxic workplace environment:
Every individual is accountable for improving the workplace so that everyone can work effectively and in harmony. However, as the people in charge of all employees, the HR department and managers must figure out how to prevent and resolve the toxic workplace culture.
Here are a few strategies that could assist organisations in dealing with hostile work conditions and, as a result, reduce high turnover rates:
Although there are various reasons to why employees may choose to leave their jobs, most companies are concerned when turnover becomes excessive and uncontrollable. High employee turnover can be costly and harm the company, including productivity loss, training new employees, added recruitment expenses, and revenue loss.
To mitigate this issue, employers must first understand the causes of employee turnover before making the required changes to keep the employees satisfied and happy. It’s crucial to evaluate all elements and investigate the reasons for voluntary and involuntary turnover when determining the targeted turnover rate.
Although toxic workplace issues are the leading cause of employee turnover, these issues can be mitigated and avoided by listening to employees and learning why they choose to leave or stay. Conduct a survey, individual interviews, or feedback sessions to discover more about what's going on in the company.
Only then, the company will be able to figure out how to nip employee turnover in the bud before it becomes a severe problem!