India tops Big Quit triggered by burnout, toxic workplace behaviour

toxic workplace behaviour

Of the six countries surveyed, India was strikingly ahead of the rest, with 66 percent planning to leave their jobs.

Despite the economic recession, workers across the world continue to leave or consider giving up their jobs. The causes, according to a McKinsey survey, are burnout and a toxic workplace environment. What is more, India tops the list of countries where a large number of people are planning to join the Great Resignation bandwagon.

The survey found that 40 percent of the people surveyed in six countries are unhappy at work and are considering resigning in the next three to six months. This means that two out of five employees are giving in to the Big Quit. Of the six countries surveyed, India was strikingly ahead of the rest, with 66 percent planning to leave their jobs.

From February to April 2022, the McKinsey Health Institute conducted a survey of nearly 15,000 employees and 1,000 human-resource (HR) decision-makers in 15 countries. India, Japan, Australia, and China represented the Asian region. The study also captured demographic insights, such as respondents’ industry and level within the organization.

 The authors, Alistair Carmichael, Erica Hutchins Coe, and Martin Dewhurst reveal in an article published by McKinsey that Indian respondents expressed elevated rates of burnout, distress, anxiety, and depression. For each outcome factor, around four in ten respondents reported symptoms.

“Among associated factors, toxic workplace behaviour is dominant, accounting for approximately 90 percent of explained variance for every outcome. Such behaviour also accounts for 90 percent of explained variance in intent to leave, with employees reporting a desire to leave their job at a level approximately 60 percent greater than the global average.,” the survey points out.

“In a different study, 41 percent of Indian employees cite a lack of separation between work and personal life, which may be stress-inducing and harmful to wellbeing.”

Employers with businesses in India face a grave problem. Understanding the contributing factors may empower employers to form a plan of action, starting with addressing toxic workplace behavior.

The survey says respondents in all 15 countries were also asked questions about contributing factors. “Toxic workplace behavior” was, by a large margin, the biggest predictor of burnout symptoms and “intent to leave” accounted for more than 60 percent of the explained variation.

“A growing body of evidence sheds light on how poor workplace mental health is associated with costly organizational issues, including attrition, absenteeism, lower engagement, decreased productivity, and increased insurance costs,” the survey highlights.

The authors of the survey say employees worldwide are more stressed than ever, experiencing high levels of poor mental health and burnout. “Already feeling pressure, employees were hit hard by the pandemic, having to manage not only health anxieties and COVID-19 restrictions, but also increased workloads and job uncertainty. The fallout from those stressors is now apparent—and particularly so in Asia, where burnout rates are higher than the global norm.”

The authors propose, three priority actions that leaders can take to mitigate harm and create a mentally healthier workplace, thus reducing attrition and fostering greater engagement with employees.

First, they recommend effectively addressing toxic behaviours.

Asian leaders generally acknowledge the high levels of reported toxic workplace behaviour—but many understandably wish to believe that the problem is happening elsewhere, and not in their own businesses or teams. Given how severely this behaviour can affect mental health, it is critical for all leaders to take a second look at their organizations, and acknowledge what their employees are experiencing.

Second, the authors stress the right resources to serve employee needs: combine foundation-level and tailored support for the people.

“The pandemic spotlighted several crucial workplace issues, including the fallibility of the one-size-fits-all approach to employee mental health, and the implications of a porous work-home boundary,” the authors conclude. “Employees face varying challenges, which require individualized support from their employers.” .

Third, they stress, improved measurement and organizational listening capabilities

“Research shows that many leaders are unable to cite robust metrics or data around employee mental-health initiatives,” the survey reads. “HR measurement staples are often not sufficiently specific or timely; they may even obscure what is really driving poor workplace outcomes.”

Their solution: empowering employees plays a critical role in driving effective action.