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Toxic Culture Top Reason People Quit

A woman with her hands on her face in a restaurant.

​Wanting to escape a workplace culture perceived as toxic is the primary reason people quit their jobs, according to new research. In fact, having a healthy culture is 10 times more important to employees than pay, the research found.

An analysis published in the MIT Sloan Management Review considered data from 600 companies, including turnover from April to September 2021, Glassdoor reviews from the last few years and 172 culture metrics.

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

Toxicity Defined

Toxic culture was characterized by employee reviews as workers feeling disrespected, unethical behavior, abusive managers and a cutthroat environment. Other leading predictors of turnover included job insecurity, burnout, lack of recognition and a poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research showed that the industries with the highest rates of attrition are apparel retail (19 percent), management consulting (16 percent) and technology (14 percent). Fast food, specialty retail, research hospitals, and hotels and leisure tied for fourth place (11 percent).


Why Are Workers Leaving Their Jobs?

Many factors have led to the record-breaking number of people quitting, including ongoing health concerns, a desire for more flexibility and workers switching jobs to take advantage of the strong candidate's market.

(SHRM Online)

How Are Employers Responding?

Across industries, job seekers and employees are becoming more selective and expect something different from before. That makes it essential for employers to develop a compelling employee value proposition that includes competitive compensation and meaningful benefits, especially career development opportunities and flexible work.

(SHRM Online)

How Historic Has the Great Resignation Been?

The Great Resignation continues along a historic path among all years of quits data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Through November 2021, an average of more than 3.9 million workers quit their jobs each month, meaning 2021 will hold the highest average on record, topping the 2019 average of 3.5 million.

(SHRM Online)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.