These Workplace Culture Fails Have Made Star Employees Quit Their Jobs

Knowing why employees leave can give organizations an opportunity to strengthen culture — before anyone hands in their notice.

Yuri Arcurs/ Getty Images
Yuri Arcurs/ Getty Images

No matter the industry or profession, culture can be transformative. A strong culture that prioritizes the experience of employees has been linked to better innovation, talent retention, and even improved financial outcomes. What’s more, in a positive work environment, creativity, productivity and happiness go up while stress levels go down. Simply put, company culture can unleash an organization’s capacity to thrive. But all too often, culture gets overlooked.

We asked our Thrive community what was missing from the culture at a former job — and ultimately played a role in their decision to find new ones. Here are four workplace culture fails that made star employees leave.

The pressure to always be “on”

“A few years back, in order to keep my job, I was offered an opportunity to relocate to Portugal and join the overseas team. I took a step back because I needed to decide whether I wanted to stay with a company that expected all members of its staff to be available in different time zones, even if it meant taking calls or joining weekly meetings after midnight. So I refused the offer. After almost three years at the company, I realized the ‘always on’ culture wasn’t going to change, and it was up to me to move forward.”

—Marcio Delgado, global content producer and influencer marketing campaign manager, Vienna, Austria

Little space for independent thinking

“I worked for a company where employees couldn’t work in their own unique ways. If you had a manager who did things a certain way, that meant that you had to do things the same way. In the end, we spent 70 percent of our time working on things that did not contribute to achieving organizational objectives, because most managers were so invested in the details of each task. It was a waste of energy, and contributed to high burnout rates.”

—Nadja El Fertasi, CEO, Brussels, Belgium 

Lack of trust 

“There was an aspect of trust that was missing at my former job. Without management being clear with expectations or consistent with providing the truth, there is no trust.”

—Brigitte Cutshall, solutions consultant, Atlanta, GA

Failure to put employees first

“I once joined a company where it took my direct manager six weeks before she finally sat down with me for our first introductory onboarding meeting. It kept getting delayed because client meetings took priority. Even though this was far from her intention, the message I received was loud and clear: the company cared more about its clients than its own people.”

—Janice Radomsky, brand strategist, New York, NY

Do you have an anecdote to share about company culture? Tell us about it in the comments!

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Bad boss

People Don’t Leave Jobs, They Leave Bad Bosses And Toxic Work-cultures!

by Rohia Munavar

Vanessa Cartwright Shares Leadership Strategies To Improve Your Company’s Culture

by Krish Chopra

Women in STEM: “We’ve found that it’s crucial employees feel empowered to bring their true selves to work, are given the autonomy to make bold decisions, and feel supported and challenged along the way.” with Bethany Parker and Fotis Georgiadis

by Fotis Georgiadis

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.