What are Microcultures of Toxicity in the Workplace?

COVID-19 gave rise to the Great Resignation, a movement where millions of Americans decided to quit their jobs. Employers are left confused as to why, but experts have known for decades that toxic workplace culture and stagnating wages would lead to this result. The Dangers of Toxic Workplace Cultures A toxic workplace culture is 10 […]

COVID-19 gave rise to the Great Resignation, a movement where millions of Americans decided to quit their jobs. Employers are left confused as to why, but experts have known for decades that toxic workplace culture and stagnating wages would lead to this result.

The Dangers of Toxic Workplace Cultures

A toxic workplace culture is 10 times more important than compensation when predicting turnover, but that doesn’t mean that adequate pay doesn’t play a role. With the inflation rate hitting 7% in December 2021, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour isn’t livable.

However, even if employers did offer a livable wage, it wouldn’t be enough to pull employees. It’s a big reason why employer review sites, like JobSage, are becoming more popular. 

The leading elements contributing to toxic cultures include failure to promote equity, inclusion, and diversity. As a whole, workers are feeling disrespected, and employers are the primary cause of this problem, especially if they’re actively promoting unethical behavior.

How Toxic Microcultures Form

Laasch & Conaway’s book titled Principles of Responsible Management concluded that culture is what people do when the boss is away. If employees aren’t following specific rules set by the ethics committee, they’re either encouraged to do so or aren’t explicitly told not to do it.

Employers who consistently break the rules or behave immorally are inadvertently pressuring their employees to do the same. Employees won’t speak up when they notice an unethical incident, but the reverse is true if they see their employer upholding ethical values.

However, even the most ethical employer can’t ignore toxic microcultures when they start to form. Otherwise, they’ll continue to fester, demoralize, and push out their best employees.

Toxic Microcultures and How They’re Used

Except for small organizations, culture isn’t a homogenous whole. A multinational corporation may be extremely ethical in America but will turn a blind eye to their subsidiaries in developing countries when they bribe government officials in order to compete with others that do the same.

By doing this, the American head office can state that their practices are ethical when they aren’t. If their toxicity is discovered, they can push the blame off themselves pretty easily.

In medium-sized corporations, the workplace is often split between the face and the underbelly. That’s why you’ll see salaried financial departments that are professional and strict and a commission-based sales department that circumvents the rules to get a high paycheck. 

More often than not, corporations benefit from this rule skirting and a “cover your eyes and ears” approach. If they don’t “know” what’s going on, they can’t take fault when the truth comes out.

Toxic Cultures Disporotially Affect Women and Minorities

The internet gives us access to hundreds of studies, thought experiments, and opinion posts that conclude that work inequality and toxic workplaces affect the economy’s bottom line

Women Run the Economy

In the United States, women buy or have influence in buying 85% of all consumer products, but the pandemic has forced more women out of work than men. Since women are expected to be caregivers, not men, they either choose or are forced to look after their children and families.

By losing more women than men in the workplace, the economy and America’s quality of life are greatly reduced. However, employers tend to push women out of male-dominated spaces.

Minorities Are Pushed Out of Spaces

A lack of flexibility, a return to in-office employment, and a toxic work environment disproportionately affect everyone but white men. White women and men and women of color are less likely to have the capital or free time to go to college or get to and from their workplace.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation, disability, age, parental status, religious affiliation, and national origin is still rampant, despite several laws that try to prevent this problem.

Workplace Acceptance Leads to Growth

A McKinsey study found that companies with more racially and ethnically diverse employees have a 35% performance advantage. Although more women of color are being hired due to the Great Resignation, they’re often pressured to take on more work than male employees.

What results is a dip in productivity and innovation, which leads to even more disparaging opinions about women in the workplace. Improving gender equality in the workplace could add $13 trillion to the global GDP, but a push for total equality could lead to much more.

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