- Most people have cried at work at least once, a Monster survey revealed. Of 3,078 respondents polled, 5.2% reported crying at work daily, 8.3% did so weekly, and a plurality (49.7%) admitted to doing so "only a few times" ever. Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi said in a emailed statement to HR Dive that even though half of respondents cry only occasionally, crying a few times "is still a few times too many."
- Respondents in a separate survey of 2,334 participants named several causes of their tears, including bullying, their workload, a boss or colleague, a client, a personal work-related error or a personal matter. Most respondents (45.4%) cited a boss or colleague as the cause.
- Crying daily or weekly may be a sign that an employee needs to look for a new job, Salemi said, adding that the fact that bosses or colleagues are causing workers to cry is cause for concern. "When you cry at work, that's a sign of a toxic environment," she said.
Crying on the job can be a visible sign of stress — regardless of the cause — and research shows workers seem more stressed today than ever. According to a CareerCast survey released in May, 80% of the respondents gave their stress levels a seven or higher rating on a 10-point scale. And as many as 94% of U.S. and U.K. workers in another study reported experiencing high levels of work-related stress, and 60% said they had searched for a less stressful job.
Bully bosses and managers may have several negative effects on workplace culture. Research from Portland State University recently found such bosses can hurt morale and hinder employee productivity, making the workplace as a whole less safe. Poor treatment can even harm employees' bonds with their co-workers, a Portland State University professor said in a statement, leading to feelings of insecurity and being self-centered.
Salemi's recommendation that employees experiencing these emotions find new jobs may be sound advice from a candidate's perspective. However, a toxic workplace won't change without intervention from leadership. Leaders who promote the self-esteem and belonging of workers can impact engagement metrics significantly, according to a study by Gallup. HR might tackle the issue of management directly by providing training to managers, especially first-time managers, who often report feeling overwhelmed at work.