Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) President and CEO Johnny Taylor was quoted in 2019 as saying:
"Billions of wasted dollars. Millions of miserable people. It’s not a warzone – it’s the state of the American workplace.” He continued, “Toxicity itself isn’t new. But now that we know the high costs and how managers can make workplaces better, there’s no excuse for inaction."
Mr. Taylor was referring to a report conducted by SHRM in 2019 on workplace culture. In summary, the report illustrated the high cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture which showed that one in five Americans have left a job in the past five years due to bad company culture. The report found toxic culture costs companies a fortune in turnover and absenteeism; highlighted common indicators of bad workplace cultures, such as discrimination and harassment; and underscored the alarming impacts on employees.
The SHRM study was somewhat prescient if you consider what has transpired during the past couple of years. A recent study by MIT Sloan showed that Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation. This research on employee data showed that toxic workplace culture is a 10 times greater predictor of employee attrition than compensation alone.
So what can organizations do to improve their workplace culture?
Organizations need to first define their culture by identifying their goals, values, and practices. Secondly, they should define what it means when looking for a “Culture Fit” for employees in their organization. They should be considering a candidate’s attitude, beliefs, behaviors, and values to ensure they are aligned with their culture. Lastly, there needs to be a way to objectively measure your candidate’s character to ensure consistency and eliminate biases.
An organization can assess candidate character in many ways including through interview questions or assessment tests, however, these can be time-consuming and costly, especially when considering multiple candidates across many job openings. A more efficient way to assess character is look to at your candidates' digital identities online. This can be performed quickly and cost-effectively through a legal social media background report. This report will provide insight into candidate character such as how the candidate talks about themselves and others, what motivates them, are they using disparaging remarks in talking about co-workers, are they posting inappropriate pictures online, and more. Most importantly, a social media background report can ensure consistency and thoroughness without divulging protected class information that could open up the employer to an EEOC violation or lawsuit.
In summary, organizations can improve culture and decrease turnover costs by ensuring they hire candidates with strong character that will reinforce the corporate culture. If a candidate doesn’t have a problem portraying themselves poorly on the internet they may do the same for your company’s image and contribute to a toxic work environment. A social media background check on your candidates can ensure culture fit and help the organization project a strong brand image.