What’s the biggest reason people quit their jobs? A toxic work culture, according to new research, which shows it’s 10 times more important than pay. For the MIT Sloan Management Review, researchers analyzed 1.4-million reviews from nearly 600 major U.S. companies on Glassdoor, a site that lets current and former employees review companies anonymously.
They found employees describe toxic workplaces in five main ways: non-inclusive, disrespectful, unethical, cutthroat and abusive. “These aren’t just mere annoyances,” Charlie Sull, a researcher on the analysis, explains of the criticisms. “These are the things that’ll cause an emotional reaction that’ll make you dread going into work.”
Based on those anonymous reviews, employees say this is what a toxic work culture looks like:
- Non-inclusive - This is where people don’t feel they’re treated fairly or welcomed based on gender, race, sexual identity and orientation, disability and age. Researchers point out that while these identity-related topics might not apply to all employees, they still have a big impact on their view of culture.
- Disrespectful - It’s a red flag if a workplace is lacking consideration, courtesy and dignity for others. The researchers’ previous work shows a lack of respect was the single strongest predictor of how employees as a whole rated the corporate culture.
- Unethical behavior - This includes descriptions of the company being dishonest or not compliant, including with OSHA standards that protect workers’ safety and HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects sensitive patient information.
- Cutthroat or backstabbing - Behavior like this as well as ruthless competition is linked with low culture scores and high employee turnover.
- Abusive management - This includes bullying, harassment and hostility and 0.8% of Glassdoor reviews describe their manager as abusive.