Toxic Workplace Cultures in the Finance Industry and Their Impact on Talent, Investors and Customers

More than half of those who work in the finance industry would be reluctant to accept a job with a company that had a reputation for having a toxic workplace culture, whilst many feel like their leaders are failing to protect them. 

Attitudes to how workforces operate and who workers give their time and energy to have changed significantly within the course of the last five years.

This shift has been facilitated by social movements such as Me Too, the great resignation and the impact the pandemic has had on working environments and styles.

The outcome of this has manifested in significant skill shortages across various sectors, with the financial industry also feeling the effects.

Many of these feelings and attitudes that have saturated this area of workplace revolution have been studied in a new report that has recently been released by Culture Shift.

In it, the impact software developer identifies the presence of toxic workplaces within the UK financial industry, and how they are failing to retain and attract new talent, investment or customers.

The report emphasises how there has never been more pressure on organisations to truly understand what is important to the people they work with.

What did the report find?

The survey covered the views of 1,000 employees toward toxic workplace cultures. In addition, 100 respondents who had received a pay-out due to toxic behaviour were surveyed, alongside 20 investors who had at least £100,000 in investments; excluding angel and FTSE100 investors.

According to the responses collected by the research, 57 per cent of those who work in the finance industry wouldn’t accept a job with a company known for having a toxic workplace culture.

In terms of the impact a toxic culture will have on the reputation of a company, 46 per cent would go to leave a bad review online to warn others about applying for a job with a company.

In addition to this, 45 per cent wouldn’t apply for a job if the company had poor online reviews, whilst 45 per cent have previously left a job due to bad workplace culture.

Problematic behaviour

Bad behaviour is never acceptable within a professional workplace, but unfortunately, as the report brings to light, these kinds of interactions are anything but rare within the financial industry.

Forty-six per cent said that they had previously witnessed problematic behaviour, such as bullying, harassment or discrimination, at work; whilst 35 per cent had been subject to it.

Speaking specifically on this figure, Gemma McCall, CEO of Culture Shift, said:

Gemma McCall, CEO of Culture ShiftGemma McCall, CEO of Culture Shift
Gemma McCall

“Our research shows employer brand can be tarnished as a result of having a toxic workplace culture. It’s clear leaders aren’t fully aware of the true impact toxic workplace culture can have on their people and organisation.”

Thirty-one per cent confirmed that incidents of problematic behaviour at work had compromised how much they trusted their employer, whilst many feel like their leaders are failing to act appropriately to protect their workforces and eliminate toxic cultures.

“From work-life balance to trusting their employers and colleagues, positive workplace experiences are more important than ever before, yet leaders are failing to put measures in place to protect their people,” continues McCall.

“Not only does this impact an organisation from an employer brand point of view, but it can also impact investor appeal and result in challenges when looking to attract new talent.”

The view from the outside

Having a reputation for toxic workplace culture doesn’t just impact recruitment opportunities and employer brand, it also has a direct impact on an organisation’s bottom line from both a consumer and investor point of view.

The report found that 62 per cent wouldn’t buy a product or service from a company with a reputation for treating employees poorly, whilst a considerable 71 per cent of investors wouldn’t invest in a company with a problematic workplace culture.

“The true impact toxic workplace culture has on an organisation really shouldn’t be underestimated. From influencing future applicants and investors to affecting the lives of those experiencing and witnessing bullying, problematic behaviour in the workplace often has a lasting impact on both an organisation and its people,” explains McCall.

“The only way organisations can reduce this risk is to commit to eradicating problematic behaviour in the workplace by putting culture at the top of their agenda. There will never be a one size fits all approach for all organisations to adhere to, however, there are steps which all leaders can put in place to ensure they’re protecting their culture.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.