What is Toxic Turnover Cycle? with new data suggesting high employee turnover is damaging workplace culture.

It’s not that new

toxic cycle

Toxic turnover cycle

The idea of a toxic culture was first proposed in 1975 by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger to describe workplaces blighted by abusive relationships, where there is bullying and harassment from senior staff, as well as narcissism among leaders, aggressive behaviours and cynicism.

Freudenberger pointed to the risks for organisations from emotional exhaustion, low motivation and low productivity.

High employee turnover can contribute to a toxic culture. 

New research suggests that the main reason for employees who want to leave their work is down to toxic culture. This has in many organisations created a vicious turnover cycle.

According to a survey conducted by Wiley Edge/*mthree, 63% of businesses claimed they had experienced negative effects on their company culture as a direct result of a high staff turnover.

The report also highlighted how poor retention rates can turn into a vicious cycle where culture becomes damaged, and because of this more employees choose to leave, this also has a financial negative impact with increasing the recruitment and onboarding costs.

Gathering responses from over 500 UK based business leaders and 1,000 full-time employees aged between 21-28, the survey found that;

  • 23% had received complaints from their remaining team members regarding a cultural change in the organisation.
  • 22% having issues arise between team members due to the development of a toxic culture.
  • 21% found a decrease in employee engagement.
  • 22% said they had seen long standing employees leaving due to the culture change.

The main reason for leaving their job was down to lack of opportunities for future progression, lack of management support and toxic company culture (40%).

Other key findings

  • 72% of businesses have needed to provide additional training to junior employees.
  • 78% of businesses have had problems when it comes to recruiting replacements staff for leaving employees.
  • 16% of businesses found that over half of grads leave within the first 24 months.
  • 10% of businesses have not promoted their company culture to prospective employees.
  • 54% of businesses have senior executives conduct interviews for graduates.
  • 50% of younger workers say that company culture is the most important factor when deciding to accept a new job.
  • 52% of businesses interview prospective junior employees more than just once.

Younger people

Of the younger people who took part in the survey;

  • 70% said that they had regretted joining an organisation after they had found out what the company culture was really like.
  • 29% said that due to the organisations culture they had left their job within the first year.
  • 26% said they had left within six months due to the culture not being what they had expected.
  • 26% said they were unhappy due to the culture but had stayed.

Final Thoughts

Identifying the top causes of employee turnover will minimise the cost of turnover and help organisations to retain their staff. In addition, when companies understand why workers are leaving, it will be so much easier to take the necessary steps to plug the gaps.

For more information on spotting toxic culture and improving your organisations culture – click here

For a factsheet on Company culture – click here

If you would like to talk more about this subject give us a call

*mthree is the emerging talent and reskill training partner for public and private organisations across the globe. Full detailed report here

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