Unlike the older generation who will normally spend an average of 15years+ working in an organisation or even spend their entire productive life at an organisation, the average Millennial or Gen-Z these days don’t have that much patience.
The older generation spending that much time at a job was not because everything was rosy at that company, no. It was because majority of these folks learnt to cope with the work environment – toxic or not.
The average Millennial or Gen-Z will shoot any management their resignation email in an instant without thinking twice once they begin to sense that the work environment is becoming too “Toxic” for them.
The question now is – What can we consider as a “Toxic environment” in a workplace?
Toxicity according to the dictionary – “The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals.”
When a “substance” has become so much in a system that it has the potential to damage or harm a person’s Physical; Emotional or Mental stability, then it’s time to either get rid of that substance or get out of the vicinity.
Let’s try to examine two things – (a) What are those substances that create a toxic environment? (b) Is jumping ship the only solution or we need to study how the older generation managed it?
(a) “SUBSTANCES” THAT CREATE A TOXIC ENVIRONMENT
When young people at a workplace begin to tell HR or their colleagues or their managers that “the work environment is too toxic”, then it’s time for the leadership to pay attention and try as much as possible to eliminate the “Substances” causing this Toxicity.
The substance may be a human or a policy.
- It could be someone in leadership frustrating the jobs of his/her subordinate.
- It could be a team member not cooperating or killing the team spirit.
- It could be a boss deliberately denying workers their rightful compensation or allowance.
- It could be a boss harassing (physical/sexual/emotional etc) a subordinate.
- It could be a company policy which the workers have suddenly found unfair.
- It could be lack of proper appreciation and awards for work well done.
- It could even be the whole company management not providing the necessary work equipment.
It is the responsibility of a boss or management that cares to be proactive and ask questions when he/she begins to receive resignation emails, one after the other from Millennials or Gen-Zs.
It is necessary that the management of an organisation speak to the ones that have left, to get their assistance in helping identify the “substance” causing the toxicity (if they actually care) and try as much as possible in eliminating that “substance” before others starts handling in their resignation as well.
(b) IS JUMPING SHIP THE ONLY SOLUTION?
As much as a toxic work environment should not be tolerated by any organisation, we should also be careful not confuse every workplace issue as toxicity.
Humans are Humans anywhere and everywhere. There will always be disagreement and a little squabble here and there as long as it’s human that are involved and it will not be right for Millennials and Gen-Zs to jump ship at the slightest rocking of the boat.
Disagreement on direction and strategy of projects, a team member slacking and drawing back the entire team, company cutting down on expenses or bonuses due to financial constraints etc are things that are not necessarily enough reasons to complain and threaten to resign.
All organisations face hard times and if the company have been there for you before, then it would be unfair to jump ship now that things aren’t too good and everyone is one the edge.
A team lead may be on the edge due to pressure from meeting targets and deliverables and tempers may flare for this and many other reasons. It’s best to always take time to analyse situations before jumping ship.
Ofcourse, things like physical and sexual harassment can’t be tolerated at all but there are other scenarios that should be weighed and try see IF they can be resolved before taking that ultimate or permanent decision.
The older generation may have endured some of these toxicity because of fear of unemployment and lack of income if they choose to resign but these new generation won’t wait around to endure any toxicity!
There are more opportunities opening up to earn income online or working remotely while you hunt for a new job and that’s if you think it’s necessary because your side hustle may just be enough to cater for your needs and all.