Is the Tonight Show a Toxic Workplace?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Can any workplace be toxic? Sure. Toxic workplaces are made so by many factors, including discrimination, working conditions, and employee treatment by management.

In this article by Rolling Stone, investigative reporters say Jimmy Fallon has apologized in a Zoom call to “Tonight Show” staffers for his contribution to what some are calling a toxic workplace. The article explains that “Fallon’s erratic behavior — and the show’s ever-changing leadership teams — had fostered an unhealthy work environment.” Past and present employees had even complained to HR about the show’s issues.

While I can’t comment directly on what is happening at the “Tonight Show” (having never worked there,) I can tell you what employers can do to make sure their workers feel supported and psychologically safe while on the job.

  1. Consistency: If employees are on pins and needles, anxiously anticipating yet another management shakeup, it will very definitely affect their work. Good employers will minimize leadership swaps and create an environment where change is managed and not threatening to workers.
  2. Good Boss Behavior: When the boss has moment-to-moment personality shifts, it’s quite alarming. HR needs to bring issues like this to the attention of organizational leadership to fix or risk high turnover rates. Being the boss is no excuse for poor behavior.
  3. Open Communication: Sometimes employees feel so unsafe in a work environment they are too scared to report workplace issues to a supervisor or HR. Keeping a line of communication open with employees is critical to understanding the current workplace climate. Frequent honest, one-on-one check-ins with employees are a good, informal way to do this.

It takes a great deal of intention to create a welcoming, functional, and inclusive workplace, but it’s achievable if organizational leaders are willing to take stock and put in the work. The performance and satisfaction dividends are worth the effort!