In our previous newsletter, we spoke about ‘Quiet Quitting’, a movement that started around mid-2022 and is correlated to the ‘Great Resignation’. We had such fantastic feedback from our readers that we decided to continue the conversation and dig deeper into the root of the cause.
We found that 'Quiet Quitting' roots in a toxic work environment and work culture, which breeds negativity and could potentially destroy a person's mental well-being. We discovered a very interesting article written by MIT researchers who adopted a data-driven strategy to understand the reasons behind the ‘Great Resignation’ movement. They went through more than a million Glassdoor reviews, compiling employee grievances with attrition rates and identifying what was ‘pushing’ individuals out the door. After all this data analysis, it became evident that a toxic workplace culture was the main cause of departure (The Lifehacker).
Toxic work culture is the root cause of the ‘Great Resignation’, we thought to start “pulling roots” and digging even deeper. From our deep analysis, we uncovered the rotten roots of the problem! Toxic workplace culture stems and gets nurtured from and by top management.
Our interviews resulted in a unanimous opinion that most office toxic culture environments start from top management and sweep through the office like a forest fire on a windy day.
Managers relay the values and culture of a company in different ways, positive or negative, which is where the sliding door effect starts (watch the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, and you’ll understand what I mean).
Managers who lead by fear, ego, and iron fist tend to encourage a more toxic, aggressive competitive work environment.
Leaders don’t just wake up and decide to be hostile, this happens because they themselves are either unhappy, insecure, or unsure of how to lead their team and business. Employees don’t openly report harassment and they tend to strongly believe that managers have the authority to inspire interactions at the workplace. Some employees tend to keep quiet in the hopes of being promoted, some fear being bullied and some just choose to normalize and adapt to a toxic culture. The issue creates a ripple effect which in turn has an impact on employee productivity, well-being and retention rate.
Let’s explore the other side of the coin, Leaders that cultivate positivity and teamwork usually tend to encourage and create a creative environment and a more team-led work culture.
After all, we look up to our managers for the good and the bad, so it’s no surprise to find that “toxic office” culture comes from the people we look up to the most.
Transforming your toxic culture requires both awareness and action
We believe that leaders must be willing to hold themselves and their team members accountable for toxic behavior. Change is scary but also exciting and opportunistic.
Through our 'Executive Coaching Programs', we have held many leaders’ hands through change. Leaders who were knee-deep in a toxic work environment and couldn’t see the light were supported through our coaching methodology in finding, exploring, and spreading their own light.
When it comes to recruitment, we always advise our candidates that the key to growing in a successful workplace is to have a clear picture of the work culture environment they wish for themselves and to ensure the company they are in process with, is aligned with their values.
We believe that a tiny step of change can go a long way
Rooting for you…
Being a leader is not easy, Spiderman’s uncle, (Uncle Ben), said on his dying bed: “With great power comes great responsibility”.
Acknowledgment and Acceptance are the first steps in the process of elimination of toxic culture.
We advise that culture detox should be a top priority for the management team since it's the right step to take. Taking care of employees who are feeling overburdened with responsibilities needs to be resolved by sharing the workload or hiring more support staff to ensure the positive well-being of employees.
Spread your roots
Individuals watch leaders closely to determine the type of behavior that is expected, welcomed, and tolerated. A successful business culture is a product of executives bringing out their values and beliefs in a way that reflects the company culture and is shared in a positive way.
Our founder Ben states that to nurture a highly competitive labor market, it is essential to avoid the toxic traits of corporate work culture and explains that it’s essential to take care of the well-being of your employees. Sensate is a passion project started by Ben to support many large and small organizations in curating a healthy work environment through our training and executive coaching programs to leave an impact and make a difference.
Often involving a third party is the smartest way to tackle toxic work culture. The internal HR department may be biased and not fully able to resolve issues. The third party will be able to examine matters from the side and suggest effective immediate solutions. Moreover, when managers understand the harmful effects of poor behavior and what toxic behavior looks like, they are more likely to respond in ways that support employee retention and growth.
Everything is in your hands now!
(Written by Ben Safra & Melanie D'Silva)