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Surveys reveal rampant workplace toxicity

Published on: 2 May 2024

A third of employees in the UK have encountered “toxic managers” in the past five years, forcing many to quit, according to recent research.

Surveys reveal rampant

Strategic skills consultant Corndel’s 2024 Workplace Training Report surveyed 250 HR decision-makers and 1,000 employees. It found that 41% of staff had left jobs due to dissatisfaction with managers, while 69% of HR respondents said “bad managers” were a big factor in their organisations and only 54% thought their senior leaders had the skills to foster high-performing teams.

Toxic manager traits identified included micromanagement, inflexibility, intimidation, gaslighting and deflecting accountability. 

Of respondents, 47% said that mental health support and empathy from their workplace are crucial for job satisfaction. Furthermore, 46% think a positive workplace culture enhances job performance – increasing to 55% of those aged 18 to 34. 

According to a separate survey of 800 HR leaders and employees, carried out by HR consultancy Intoo, 33% of employees who had experienced a toxic workplace had used sick leave to avoid it, while 44% had used holiday or personal leave for the same reason.

The poll also found that 35% of HR leaders and employees who had faced workplace toxicity would take a pay cut to work for a company with a less hostile environment. A total of 49% felt their company would take very little or no action to tackle the problem. 

In terms of tackling the issue, 28% of employees and 29% of HR leaders said transparency and communication would help to create a more positive workplace.