The term “Toxic Work Culture” is everywhere. No company wants to think that is true of their own working environment. No manager wants to think that the way they lead is actually toxic and counterproductive to having a productive team. However, 44% of employees are “job seekers,” according to Willis Towers Watson's 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey. For anyone in leadership, HR, or trying to fill positions, that number should be worrisome at the very least. If all the programs, initiatives, workshops, benefits, and trainings that the company has been using was put in place to keep talent, why is that number so high?
Here are few of the reasons employees are looking to make a change, according to a recent survey done by Prudential:
Pay - 71% of Americans who say they’re looking for a new job would consider staying put for better pay.
Financial Future/Retirement - The second most common answer (28%) was a better retirement plan.
Schedule: Employees want more flexibility over scheduling (27%).
Personal Time: One in five workers said they would consider accepting a pay cut to achieve better work-life balance. For these employees, a little more rest and control over their own time was worth an average of about 10% of their salaries.
These responses, however, don’t address turnover and burnout issues through the gender and DE&I lens.
There is a different in how women versus men value flexibility and balance in a job, according to Gallup survey data. Some of this is because of the unequal home responsibilities that still exist outside the workplace.
Another finding from the survey revealed that only women were likely to value wellbeing almost as much as pay, with 65% of women checking the box next to work-life balance compared to 56% of men.
This becomes interesting when you bump this up against turnover and healthcare costs. If men don’t value wellbeing but are driving up healthcare costs, that needs to be an area of focus for employee wellness initiatives. If wellbeing initiatives are not taking into account how female employees view what is being offered, it has a bigger impact on engagement.
A question that can be asked to better understand where you are with this is, 'Do our wellness programs meet the needs and expectations of employees across the gender arc?'
Diversity and Workplace Wellness
Review who you are using as instructors, communications, and who is showing up for classes, workshops or online events. Are you seeing diversity? If we want employees from diverse backgrounds (race, age, gender, etc.) to participate, instructors and the visual images that are included in communications need to reflect the people you want engaged.
The pandemic and all the focus on racism has a different impact on your employees from diverse backgrounds. There is a heightened sense of “survival mode” for many of them that is often not acknowledged. By not understanding these differences, it can actually mean less engagement with mental health and wellbeing benefits.
By 2023, 25% of the U.S. workforce will be 55+. Ageism continues to be a big problem that goes unaddressed. This is a growing problem in almost every industry.
Being “one of” in a team, in a meeting or in leadership has an impact on health and wellbeing. LGBTQ+ women are twice as likely as women overall to report being an “only,” and they’re seven times more likely to say so than are straight white men. LGBTQ+ women of color are eight times more likely than straight white men to report onlyness, according to data gathered by McKinsey.
A business strategy around using health and wellbeing benefits, programs, and resources can make a difference in creating a more intentionally inclusive and engaging working culture. It can be a differentiator in how quality candidates view your company. Marginalized employees or those that feel unheard and unseen, will not be the productive employees you need them to be.
Understanding the diverse needs of your workforce to help them thrive can have a very positive impact on your bottom line. No company or workgroup wants to be labeled toxic. A better approach through strategically designed health, wellness, and engagement initiatives with a recognition of what is valued and the needs of diverse groups within your organization can make all the difference.