When many Americans think about a tech career the first thing that comes to mind is often the potential for jaw-dropping salaries and bonuses. Perhaps a bit further down on the list of things that come to mind is the reputation the tech industry has for toxic or even hostile workplace culture and high levels of stress.
Perhaps it’s that impressive potential compensation that makes careers in tech so continuously appealing despite the less-than-ideal workplace culture because, make no mistake, the tech industry continues to have serious problems with workplace culture.
Toxic Culture on the Rise
According to a press release by Talent LMS, recent layoffs have intensified an already toxic climate in tech. “The survey of 1,000 employees who work in U.S. tech companies with toxic work culture unveils the main drivers of toxicity in the software industry, the staggering toll it takes on its employees, and unpacks ways to combat and reverse it,” the press release says.
The survey revealed the types of toxic behaviors most often experienced by employees—and those they find most damaging. Respondents also shared insights into what organizations might do to help address these issues—and who should be on the hook for doing so.
Who’s Responsible for Addressing Toxic Culture
According to the survey, here’s who respondents felt were most responsible for a toxic culture:
- Leadership and Senior Management (20%).
- Middle Management (18%).
- Respondents’ Direct Managers (17%).
- Colleagues from Other Teams (16%).
- Colleagues from Own Team (15%).
- HR (14%).
Going into a bit more detail, the survey results point to three key drivers of workplace toxicity:
- Expecting employees to work longer hours or weekends without additional pay.
- Lack of transparency and communication from management and leadership.
- Lack of consideration and courtesy.
Trying to squeeze additional work out of employees for the same amount of money is largely a zero-sum game: either the employer or the employee gets the benefit of that extra time spent at work. But the other key issues can be addressed by simply improving compassion and communication.
The tech industry has long had a reputation for toxic workplaces. Part of this toxicity may be driven by the high-stakes, fast-paced nature of a highly profitable and very competitive industry. But there are easy fixes managers and executives can make to greatly reduce toxicity.
These survey results point to some potential areas of opportunity for improvement.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.
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