Disgruntled employees on Reddit share ‘red flag’ warning signs of a potentially toxic workplace

Disgruntled employees on Reddit recently shared their thoughts on the ‘red flag’ warning signs which would indicate a workplace is potentially ’toxic’.

High staff turnover, bosses complaining about your peers, and firms having no proper training structure were all cited as examples of a workplace to avoid.

Other users on the popular online forum told how some bosses weren’t prepared for them on their first day of arrival – not even knowing their computer password.

Meanwhile, potential employees were advised to scan the room for a ‘look of defeat’ on the faces of staff before choosing to stay put beyond their induction.

The list has been revealed by leading UK energy price comparison and switching service Love Energy Savings, a firm praised for looking after its 200 strong staff and which has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on the workplace review website Glassdoor.

Managing director Phil Foster says:

“Some firms go the extra mile for their staff – others run a mile in the opposite direction.

“It’s a sad fact that these experiences shared by Reddit users will ring true for a lot of employees here in the UK.

“It’s also thought that around one in 10 employees experience workplace bullying – arguably the most extreme ‘red flag’ you could possibly encounter.

“And it’s the responsibility of managers to protect and nurture their most precious commodity – the people who work for them.”

High staff turnover – combined with workplace dinosaurs – here’s what Reddit users said: 

  • If,  within the  first month, your boss complains to you about your peers. Get the hell out.”
  • My ex boss right on the interview told me he was planning to fire a salesperson and was complaining about him to me. I took the job anyway. 7 months later I quit.”
  • “It’s a symptom of being a very poor leader. The person they are complaining about will eventually be you, because they haven’t learned how to coach and develop employees.

It’s completely inappropriate and unprofessional to discuss your peers’ performance issues/personal relationships with you. Plus, it’ll sour relationships that you could form with those people as it makes you not want to be “guilty by association”. It’s literally team implosion.

  • This is my boss. There is a rotation of who is and who isn’t in favour with them. Your head could be on the chopping block at any moment or you could be enlisted to be best friend of the day. Mental.”

Lack of enthusiasm: 

  • When a place is good to work, their employees seem to be excited to be there. There are smiles, there are jokes, there is enthusiasm. When a company screws over and abuses their employees? The employees get that look of defeat in their eyes. Their job has no enjoyment, it is merely about survival.”
  • When you walk in for interview and u dont see single person smiling.”

A ‘work hard, play hard’ culture:

  • “translation: You’ll have no work-life balance but we also all drink too much.”
  • “When I was looking for a job recently, I had this conversation with my dad. “Work hard, play hard” means “we work all the time, but there’s beer here.”
  • “Translation: we go out drinking a lot and you’ll be expected to join us off the clock without compensation.”

Lack of training: 

Their training you for your specific duties is limited to screaming at you when you have done something wrong.


  • Lack of respect for people’s time. Meeting constantly starting late. ASAP requests. Regular requests to work late. If they don’t respect your time, they don’t respect or value you.”
  • Some places will try to sell horrible hours as “dedication and hard work”, but it might also mean they don’t care about your personal life so long as they get their projects done. Sure, some fields are just like that, but if you can’t see yourself handling that, don’t start.”
  • Anytime people say ‘we’re like a family here’. That’s code for, ‘we’re going to work you into the ground and provide no financial incentives for doing so’.

Bad thoughts: 

  • When you think ‘at least I won’t have to go to work if I get in an accident’ while driving every morning.”
  • It doesn’t have to be life threatening… a broken leg maybe where I have to work from home is good enough….”

Phil Foster, who offers Love Energy Savings staff free yoga classes, financial advice, a free gym, as well as free fruit for all staff members, says no manager is perfect.  However, he believes that  reducing stress in the workplace will also have a positive impact on the bottom line.

He adds:

“I’d encourage companies, both large and small, to wake-up to the benefits of addressing these problems.

“Because, at the end of the day, reducing stress in the workplace will also have a positive effect on a company’s profits, in the form of fewer absences, increased work rates and people taking pride in the job they do.”