Workplace abuse leads to decreased productivity, lower morale, increased absenteeism, and turnover (the bad kind — not the kind that results from not needing roles anymore). Imagine burning a big old pile of money. That's the equivalent of keeping an abuser on staff. Let's look at some of the hidden and not-so-hidden costs of keeping an abuser on staff:
Turnover. Examples: announcing the job opening, recruiting fees, interviewing time, and training time.
Lost opportunity. Examples: losing clients and the revenue associated with them and losing potential accounts from the work of competent employees.
Absenteeism. Cost: paid time off (sick leave and vacation)
Presenteeism (being at work but disengaged while there). Cost: lost productivity from that employee and any employee disengagement rubs off on.
Legal defense. Regardless of there not being laws with teeth on the books protecting targets from workplace abuse, targets can still sue. And businesses will still have to pay to respond. Costs: staff, legal help, and settlement or trial costs ($30,000+).
Workers comp and disability insurance claims. Costs: higher insurance and staff time investigating claims.
For an employee paid $50,000 annually, the grand total could look like:
Opportunity lost: $30,000
Legal defense: $30,000
Workers comp: $2,000
An employer could pay a productive employee for three years instead of allowing the abuse to happen. Is pretending the abuse isn’t happening really the easy way out?
Employers can talk with abusers and begin the warning process, while targets can share the cost breakdown with a higher-up who might care about the organization. Targets should be prepared to leave the organization if they don't get consequences for the abuser.
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