Burning the Bridge

I read an article about an executive who on leaving the firm wrote a scathing resignation letter via the NY Times Op-Ed. He described the firm as "toxic and destructive."

People leave jobs daily all across the world but what makes someone so disenchanted with their employer that they go so very public with their disenchantment?

What would your former employees say about your company?

Would they willingly/knowingly burn their bridge?

Does your management team belittle customers as described in the article?

What kind of culture does your company have?

If a company's culture is toxic and/or destructive, what can HR do to change it?

Please share your thoughts.


To read the article, go to: [URL]http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/14/10682553-goldman-sachs-exec-greg-smith-quits-saying-environment-at-firm-is-toxic[/URL]


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • 1) I am very fortunate to have worked for some years for a wonderful CEO. We have seldom had employees leave because they were unhappy with our company. We can truly say we always made an effort to make an unhappy employee feel differently. Sometimes though, the things they think are important are not feasible (I can't fire some one because you don't like the way live or behave as long as it falls within acceptable policies.) If an unhappy employee did leave and complain publicly, we would probably still be ok as there are so many who would tell the truth on our behalf.

    2) Attitudes of caring about the customer come from the top and work their way down. This company clearly has an issue, or the ex-employee would not have been so vocal. Of course, the issue isn't necessarily what the ex-employee claims it is. We need more facts to know the truth. Either way, the managers shouldn't just sweep this under the rug. They need to understand what happened and make any necessary adjustments.

    3) Unethical and illegal behavior should be reported. However, throwing a public fit because you don't like your boss doesn't help anyone. Give us facts to back up your claims. Don't just throw mud. That being said, true whistleblowers should be applauded. Personally, I would be cautious about hiring this guy until I knew which category he fell in, fit-thrower or whistleblower.

    4) If you are the HR manager of a toxic workplace, you should find ways to quantify the cost of such toxicity to corporate leaders. If that doesn't work, move on before you become poisoned yourself.

    This was in interesting article, Sharon. Thanks for sharing and giving the opportunity to express my point of view.
  • Apparently no other forumites wanted to share their thoughts on this issue. I found a good blog to share though, by Jack Welch, who has some interesting insights.

  • Nae,

    The Welch blog post is interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

    I'm surprised that no one else has commented on this thread. Culture is one of the most important parts of any organization yet there so many companies ignore it or only pay it lip service.

  • Here's an update on this story ...


    ... reaping a reward for burning the bridge -- not the usual scenario.

  • I'm normally not a big Jack Welch fan, but I finally read this blog post and it may be the best thing he's ever written.
  • I think most organizations have a company culture along with multiple "micro cultures" in different departments.

    The main company culture is a mix of the company's leadership, history, values, philosophy, people, demographics, geographics, etc.

    The micro-cultures are driven by the management style of the department head (assuming the CEO is not a control freak). In a way, a department's micro-culture has a greater impact on the employee than the larger company culture.

    Worse, if the micro-culture is not aligned with the company culture, the disparity is accentuated. For example, a company culture that values creativity may sound dishonest and hollow to an employee working in a micro-culture that discourages independent thinking.

    The power of micro-cultures is why I think its so essential to remove bad people managers from influential positions.
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