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Toxic Culture Top Reason People Quit

By Roy Maurer

January 19, 2022


A work culture perceived as toxic is the biggest reason why people quit—10 times more important than pay, according to new research.


An analysis published in the MIT Sloan Management Review considered data from 600 companies, including turnover from April to September 2021, Glassdoor reviews from the last few years and 172 culture metrics.


We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.


Toxicity Defined

Toxic culture was characterized by employee reviews as workers feeling disrespected, unethical behavior, abusive managers and a cutthroat environment. Other leading predictors of turnover included job insecurity, burnout, lack of recognition and a poor response to COVID-19.


The research showed that the industries with the highest rates of attrition are apparel retail (19 percent), management consulting (16 percent), technology (14 percent) and a four-way tie across fast food, specialty retail, research hospitals, and hotels and leisure (11 percent).


Why Are Workers Leaving Their Jobs?

Many factors have led to the record-breaking number of people quitting, including ongoing health concerns, a desire for more flexibility and workers switching jobs to take advantage of the strong candidate's market.


How Are Employers Responding?

Across industries, job seekers and employees are becoming more selective and expect something different from before. That makes it essential for employers to develop a compelling employee value proposition that includes competitive compensation and meaningful benefits, especially career development opportunities and flexible work.


How Historic Has the Great Resignation Been?

The Great Resignation continues along a historic path among all years of quits data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Through November 2021, an average of more than 3.9 million workers quit their jobs each month, meaning 2021 will hold the highest average on record, topping the 2019 average of 3.5 million.

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