Emtrain Workplace Culture Report 2020 Reveals Key Causes of Toxic Workplace Culture, Little Progress Has Been Made Despite MeToo Movement

More than 80% of workers say they would not report harassment if they saw it, and 41% say even if they did report harassment, their managers wouldn’t take them seriously. That’s according to the 2020 Workplace Culture Report released by workplace culture platform Emtrain.

Emtrain Workplace Culture Report 2020
Emtrain Workplace Culture Report 2020

Emtrain analyzed over 2.5 million data points collected from 40,000 employees at 125 companies in 2019 to reveal the behaviors that contribute to healthy — and unhealthy — workplaces. A team of employment lawyers and former government regulators, as well as talent, leadership, learning, and organizational development experts assembled by Emtrain tested the hypothesis that bad outcomes are actually the result of one or more core situational dynamics that — at elevated levels — lead to toxic behaviors like harassment, bias, exclusion, and ethical violations.

The report identified six specific indicators such as unconscious bias and power dynamics — Emtrain’s Workplace Culture Diagnostic — that lead to bad outcomes when at unhealthy levels. This first of its kind harassment/bias/respect benchmarking will help inform culture keepers and business leaders on where and how they invest their time and resources to improve organizational health and decrease their risk of bad outcomes.

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Key takeaways from the Emtrain 2020 Workplace Culture Report include:

  • 83% of employees would not report harassment if they saw it.
  • 41% of employees are not confident that if they made a complaint, their management would take it seriously.
  • Almost 1 in 3 (29%) employees have left a job because of workplace conflict.
  • Only 25% of employees think that their co-workers do a good job of “reading the room” when it comes to interacting with others.
  • Only 32% of employees feel like they can be their authentic self at work.
  • Only 20% of employees think managers are aware of the impact of their power on workplace interactions.
  • The biggest cause of workplace culture issues is In-Group/ Out-Group dynamics — e.g., employees who report experiencing being a member of the “out-group” actually receive less empathy and respect from their co-workers.

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“The good news is that this report provides benchmarks that companies can use to see how they are performing in the key indicators for company culture health,” said Emtrain CEO and founder Janine Yancey. “The bad news is that our research shows many businesses have a long way to go. Businesses spend about $5 billion a year on harassment training and we don’t seem to be solving this issue.”

The full report, available for download here, provides data on issues like employees’ comfort and willingness to speak up, employee confidence in management, how disparity in backgrounds and experience affects employee interactions, the degree to which management gets away with disrespectful behavior due to authority, the varied levels of awareness managers have of the impact of their authority, and the unintended consequences of managers avoiding conflict.

“Providing this information to companies can help them better identify and address problems before they lead to harassment, bias, and ethical mishaps,” Yancey said. “These issues require strong interpersonal skills because many situations are less obvious than everyone thinks. Developing the tools and benchmarks company leaders need is a solid first step.”