Toxic Company Cultures & the “Reshuffle”

Toxic Company Cultures & the “Reshuffle”

Photo by Jules D. on Unsplash

Over the weekend, LinkedIn published an article titled, “What fuels the Great Reshuffle now,” which you can find here:

In the blurb, editor Jake Perez writes, “The pandemic-induced Great Reshuffle could be overly simplified as workers gaining agency and lobbying for what they’re worth. But the phenomenon goes beyond a paycheck, writes employee engagement speaker and author Mark C. Crowley in Fast Company. He spoke with Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief research scientist, who acknowledges 64% of workers surveyed say more money is a driver, but drilling down shows two-thirds actually left jobs ‘due to issues related to their engagement and their overall well-being.’ Harter says companies know they should build cultures that improve workers’ lives, but many just aren’t getting it done.”

Several things come to mind here.

No, money is not everything, but it is still important. Companies who sort of cavalierly say, “Money shouldn’t be the only motivator” or “People should view this job as more than just a paycheck” are living in a bygone era. And it’s funny how most (if not all) companies who say that have a C-suite that makes an obscene amount of money. But hey, money ain’t everything, right?

A high salary and “perks” will not paper over a crappy company culture. On the other side of the spectrum, a nice place to work that leaves you unable to pay your bills is not a place you will stay for the long haul. The mortgage company doesn’t accept hopes & dreams as a payment method.

One of the reasons why I feel it’s important to expose cult-like tactics used in Corporate America is because, in some respects, the entire thing operates like a giant cult. There, I said it. We want you to be one of us. We’re like one big family here. We want you on Virtual Happy Hour with all of us. We want you to camp out on Slack all day. One of us. One of us. 😲


The article on Fast Company that LinkedIn mentions delves into the topic further. (You can find it here:

Companies should be conducting stay interviews and keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in real-time. There should also be an atmosphere of openness and honesty. This should be happening in exit interviews as well. If you have not created an environment where employees can speak candidly without fear of reprisal, you will not get to the truth. They may give you secondary or tertiary answers about why they are leaving but you won’t get to the real answer. “Oh, the drive is too long” or “I just got a better offer, but you guys are all great.” Meanwhile, they might be sitting there thinking, “This place is a cesspool of toxic behavior” or “My immediate supervisor is a micromanager from Hell.”

The article in Fast Company touches on this:

“Gallup’s research shows that 42% of the reasons people are quitting are tied to how they feel about their bosses and organizational cultures. And low engagement is specifically experienced when workers conclude they aren’t growing, appreciated, or treated with care and respect. Another 21% boils down to well-being, employees’ feelings about their work-life balance, work schedules, and their ability to work remotely some of the time.”

It’s not rocket science, folks. This should be complete common sense. People do not want to work in a terrible environment and they do not want to be treated as disposable playthings.

At the end of the Fast Company article, research scientist Jim Harter is quoted as saying, “‘People see this moment as an opportunity to choose what they want from work and are taking advantage of it,’ he says. But workplace leaders can truly stem the tide here by intentionally and consistently caring more about the happiness and well-being of their people. When an employee has low engagement at work, Gallup has found they’ll jump at just about any job offer that pays them more money. ‘But when people feel engaged and supported, they’ll need about a 20% increase in pay to motivate them to leave.'”

So, just to be clear, money obviously does still matter. It’s a little like they are saying, “Even if this person is experiencing paradise on earth, they will still leave for a 20% pay increase.” So much for the “eh, money shouldn’t matter to anyone” crowd.

From a freelancing / business owner perspective, it’s important to note: not all money is good money. Some clients are such an amazing pain the @ss that no amount of money makes it worthwhile to deal with them. Usually that is not the case, but occasionally, someone will make their way into your practice that will drive you nuts if you let them. “Oh hi, Jesus. We really appreciate that you turned water into wine. But you turned it into white wine and we really wanted red wine, so like, thanks for your efforts, Jesus, but we’re not impressed enough.” 🙄

People want to be treated well and with a sense of dignity. This includes people who work in the gig economy just like it includes W2 employees. If your company cannot or will not wrap its mind around this concept, you will find yourself staffed only by people who feel they have no better options. And the second a better option presents itself, they will leave.

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