A company can look really terrific from the outside, but only the employees working there can understand how their work-culture is and how it affects their performance at work as well as their career growth.
For example, Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a leading edge company like Amazon? But Amazon’s harsh work-culture has made headlines in the past few years. Allegations by The New York Times back in 2015 claimed that Amazon’s employees were expected to stay late, almost till midnight, attend long meetings designed to force employees to tear apart one other’s ideas and respond to emails as late as midnight.
Another report by New York Post story alleges that the warehouse employees peed into bottles because of the fear of getting into trouble for taking too long away from job. A month ago, an investigation from The Guardian revealed numerous cases where Amazon workers were left to suffer after sustaining workplace injuries, which left them unable to work, deprived of a stable income, and were forced to fight for months to receive benefits and medical care.
No one would willingly want to join a workforce where the culture is toxic enough to destroy employee morale. But it is not really easy to determine if a workplace is toxic and lacks psychological safety. Employees continue to work for these workplaces even if they know it’s a wrong path because of escalation of commitment, which is the behavior that leads us to continue to invest time, money, or effort into a bad decision or unproductive course of action even when, deep down, we know it’s all wrong. Sometimes, employees’ financial needs too are a reason for them to continue in a toxic workplace.
According to a survey conducted by researchers at Randstad US, Sixty percent of employees have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because of bad bosses. It is understandable how employees see the company through their immediate boss. Bosses who mistreat their employees or do not give them enough appreciation for their work create an atmosphere of unnecessary anxiety and could drive employees to quit.
Employee burnout is also one of the primary reasons for employees quitting. Burnout is usually caused by being pressurized to get more done than possible. Though this practice seems to drive results in the beginning, it will gradually affect employee performance and reduce job satisfaction. A study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace® in 2017, found that 95 percent of human resource leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention.
Though it should be one of the priorities for managers, most of them ignore the need for providing psychological safety for their employees.
It is more than exhausting for employees to be a part of a work culture where people devalue each other’s work constantly and try to manipulate results through criticism and threat.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
There are a few things that every employee expects from their workplace/ managers:
- Respect – As a manager, you should respect your employees, their boundaries, their skills, their work, the time they spend at work and know where to draw the line. Respect the time your employees spend at work and also the time they spend off-work.
- Trust – Believe in your employees and their talents & skills. You do not always have to tie compensation to their performance. This impacts employee morale negatively. Take a leap of faith and believe in them to complete their job. Give them the opportunity and the space to prove to you that your organization made a good choice when it hired them.
- Empathy – Do not forget that your employees have emotions, feelings and personal life. Make them believe that you care about them and treat them the way they deserve to be treated. Try to put yourself in their shoes and give them benefit of doubt for any goals that aren’t met.
- Appreciation – It is very important for you as the boss to create a culture where employee appreciation and rewards is a common practice. Employees want to be praised for their good work and all the effort they put to accomplish a goal. Do not deny this just because you think it will decrease their future performance.
- Guidance – As a manager, you should frequently have career conversations with your team and guide them to climb their career ladder. This practice helps you and your employee think from the same perspective — how to contribute to organizational success while focusing on personal growth.
As a manager, you should aim to create a work culture that gives your employees the freedom to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.
If your workplace fails to provide the above mentioned aspects to your employees, then you should understand that when they quit, they aren’t quitting the job but the toxic workplace culture at your organization!