Tech workers stuck in toxic company culture to walk away
Employees who experience a toxic work environment in their companies say they plan to quit their job because of it, new research has found.
TalentLMS, a learning management system — in collaboration with Culture Amp, an employee experience platform — is releasing a research report on toxic work culture in the tech industry, including the drivers behind it and ways to combat it.
The study, which surveyed U.S. employees in the tech industry that describe their company culture as toxic, examines what contributes to a toxic work environment, the role of leadership, and what employees think can help eliminate toxicity in their workplace.
The survey reveals 45% of employees who experience a toxic work environment in their companies plan to quit their job because of it. Additionally, toxic culture has pushed 45% of employees toward quiet quitting. Respondents also said that a toxic work environment negatively affects their performance (48%), and their physical health (48%), while 46% admit to suffering from burnout.
"In their most extreme form, these toxic behaviours can put the mental health of employees seriously at risk," says Dr Joel Davies, Senior People Scientist at Culture Amp.
"But even moderate levels of these behaviours can severely impact organisational performance by undermining employee motivation, diminishing the strength of the employer brand, and increasing employee turnover," he says.
Expecting employees to work longer hours or weekends without additional pay is the top contributor to a toxic company culture, according to the report by TalentLMS and Culture Amp. Lack of transparency and communication from management and leadership comes in second place, followed by a lack of consideration and courtesy.
The survey highlights the importance of leadership and senior management in creating and maintaining a healthy workplace. According to the surveyed employees, leadership and senior management are mostly responsible for the toxic culture in tech companies. At the same time, it is surprising that nearly half (45%) of employees in toxic tech companies say leadership is unaware of the toxicity, and lives in a bubble where company culture is perceived as healthy.
"A healthy work culture is all about leadership. Interestingly, most startups that manage to grow actually do so thanks to their culture and attractive work environment," says Dimitris Tsingos, President of Epignosis and Co-founder of TalentLMS.
"Unfortunately, during the scaling phase, founders and investors make a common yet disastrous choice that kills this culture: they build management teams, not aiming to increase their strengths, but focusing on their weaknesses," he says.
"This creates a disconnect between the company vision and the culture experienced daily by employees. When selecting your leaders, look for ones that enthusiastically embrace your culture."
When faced with toxic behaviours or situations, almost half (49%) of surveyed employees say they don't do or say anything – 29% because they don't believe it will make a difference, and 20% because they're too nervous about the consequences.
To address toxicity, almost half of employees (48%) agree training can help in fostering a more positive and healthy work environment. Forty-three percent think managerial and leadership training for leaders and managers would be helpful. Also, 46% of respondents find the practice of employees offering feedback to their managers, leaders, and peers helpful.