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How Toxic Work Culture Is Driving the Great Resignation

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

The work culture in IT and the Software Companies has seen a paradigm shift ever since the world took to technological transformation. Gender, attire, infrastructure, and workspaces have evolved in numerous ways. Amidst this, social relationships have played an important role in ushering this change. Additionally, the workplace atmosphere has created a sense of kinship among employees.

Toxic Work Culture

Toxic culture drains out employee’s energy, turning them into depressed, angry and unhappy people. Toxic work culture traits usually include exclusion, incivility, harassment, insecurity, long-working hours, etc. Toxic cultures usually include hustle, blame game, authoritarianism and creates a fear- based approach among employees, without promoting a culture of constructive feedback.

These hostile workspaces have a ripple effect on physical and mental health of the employee, employer and their families while also impacting the productivity of the company. According to research by the US Department of Health & Human Services, per-person spending on mental health admissions increased 33 percent between 2014 and 2018 while outpatient spending on psychiatry grew 43 percent. Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of medical claims associated with behavioral health (both mental illnesses and addictions) more than doubled. This culture has caused employees to burnout, especially women. According to the Mckinsey report, 42% of women report being burned out this year.

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation in the top software companies was (a term coined by Professor Anthony Koltz of Texas A&M University to describe) the sudden rise in people, leaving the organization after the end of the pandemic. The pandemic has given people the time to think, explore their interests and needs, pondering over their comfort and work cultures. This has also compelled them to think whether they need to stay in toxic work cultures and are waiting to exit such workplaces. What this basically reveals is that people are prioritizing their mental health over financial growth.

As the pandemic sets in, the resignation curve has initiated an unprecedented rise. One in five has quit their job in the last six months or plans to do so in the coming six months. India has the highest number in this category of 28%, followed by the UK and the US at 25 and 24 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, China, Brazil and Japan are at the bottom with 16, 15 and 11 per cent, respectively.

Therefore, HR professionals, executives and people managers need to ensure their organizations can sustain the positive culture shifts cultivated during the pandemic and utilize some of these findings to improve processes, should another crisis arise.

Further, HR and leaders need to analyze this trend, reach out to their workforce at regular intervals and provide the required support. Though toxic work culture is viewed as a common issue, the support and solutions need to be customized, ensuring that the burnout is eliminated while employees prioritize their well-being. Besides flexible time and location, child and personal care would also ease employees’ lives.

The Awakening

Meanwhile, Work-from-home (WFH) culture has ushered an awakening of sorts among the world’s workforce. While software company employees feel intoxicated managing personal and professional responsibilities within their amateur space, they expect flexibility and a care package.

Care & Flexibility

According to a LinkedIn Study on "Reinventing Company Culture", if employees feel cared for at work, they are 3.2x more likely to be happy at work and 3.7x more likely to recommend working for the company. "Additionally, employees who. are satisfied with work location and time flexibility are 2.6 times more likely to be happy and 2.1 times more likely to recommend working for the company."

Feeling Valued Matters

This Edelman report across 7 nations, notes that people who experience "high belonging" at their company feel more engaged with their work; they plan to stay at their job for at least two years and are very loyal towards their company. Those experiencing "low belonging" are. four times more likely to say they felt stalled in their career. Further, the study also reveals that employees have raised their expectations bar in the range of 4 to 9%.


The employee and employer together need to work towards the great resignation. The companies and leaders need to reach out to their employees, understand their needs, empathize and create solutions like flexible time, locationand stress free environment and cutting down long working hours.

As recommended by the expert Professor Anthony Koltz, employees considering to resign should clearly think about their decision and reach out to their senior/ company about the issue as many organizations have started analyzing and changing their work culture to retain their employees. Their company might agree to their flexible time, location or reduced working hours. If they are certain about resigning they should do it in a gracious manner, to ensure that it doesn’t have a negative impact on the IT software company’s productivity. And maintain good relations for future requirements if any.

(Author: Alisha Fernandes is an inquisitive learner & content writer at TechDoQuest)

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