Naturally, I was slightly anxious the night before publication. What reactions will I receive—approval or rejection? Will I start a shitstorm? Or, even worse, no reaction at all?
Despite receiving some dismissive comments, my fears weren't justified. I've received many messages from Switzerland and Germany in the last few days. There were reporters, media managers, editors, and people who also left journalism.
Their messages confirm: The media industry has a leadership and culture problem.
The Great Resignation Accelerates
The media industry isn't by all means alone. The so-called Great Resignation has been looming in the Western hemisphere for months. Fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, where people were forced to quit their jobs or have time to reflect, many found that their current work environment didn't satisfy them anymore. And with remote work, new possibilities opened up.
The signs of a shift in employee mindset are also evident in Switzerland. Airlines have trouble finding personnel, restaurants struggle to attract employees, and even teachers are scarce. Lately, seven doctors quit their jobs at a hospital in Einsiedeln [all articles in German].
However, there's still no debate about the Great Resignation in Switzerland. Instead, it's called "Fachkräftemangel"—skills shortage. Of course, for some professions, this is a problem. But at the same time, the question of whether there's an issue with working conditions is rarely asked. So, I guess that the Great Resignation will get more severe in Switzerland.
Like any other industry, media companies should rather sooner than later address the topic—both as a driver of public debate and in their organisations. On a systemic level, the loss of journalists harms a functioning democracy, and it's problematic yet understandable that many journalists switch to public relations and corporate communications.
Toxic Culture Impacts The Bottom Line
A toxic workplace is one of the biggest drivers of why people quit their jobs. "In today's competitive labour market, one of the leading reasons for high turnover is the emergence of a toxic atmosphere at work. Employees often leave bad workplace cultures in search of healthier environments, where they may feel more fulfilled on the job," writes The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
There are five prevalent signs of a toxic culture in companies: