Companies often lose track of their foundational values the faster their business expands
The larger an organisation becomes, the more likely it is for the workplace to become toxic, according to a report by HR services firm Paychex.
In a study on workplace toxicity, Paychex interviewed more than 1,000 employees about the factors they found most frustrating at work.
Researchers discovered that, as an organisation grows, it becomes more susceptible to toxic behaviour. Companies with 500 or more workers have:
- 70.8% likelihood of having staff spread gossip about each other
- 70.3% likelihood of having poor communication between departments and workers, and
- 70% likelihood of employees feeling overworked.
One possible explanation for this trend is that, as the number of employees increases, the more likely it is for different personalities to clash, the study noted.
Research has also shown that the growth of an organisation can produce distinct challenges. Companies often lose track of their foundational values the faster their business expands.
Some workplace issues also appeared to be common among all organisations, regardless of size. These include workplace gossip, poor interdepartmental communication, and workers feeling overworked.
Business leaders in larger organisations, however, experience higher levels of toxicity in the workplace. On the management side, companies with 100 or more employees have:
- 57.9% likelihood of executives showing poor leadership skills
- 52.6% likelihood of managers setting unrealistic expectations, and
- 51.1% likelihood of leaders micromanaging their workers.
To combat toxic workplace behaviour, the Paychex study suggested building an inclusive culture within companies. The researchers said that there is not one single solution that can be prescribed for all organisations, since each company tackles distinct challenges differently.
However, they encouraged leaders to reach out to their workers and ask for their perspectives, no matter how difficult to hear their feedback might be.
Organisations are also required by law to properly address toxic behaviours in the workplace. HR compliance experts can advise leaders on employment laws so they become aware of regulations that may affect their business.