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The True Costs of Toxic Colleagues and Bosses

Toxicity in the WorkplaceToxic colleagues and bosses can be truly destructive to employee engagement and workplace culture.

An article in the Harvard Business Review reveals that of employees on the receiving end of rudeness and toxicity from colleagues:

  • 48% decreased their work effort
  • 47% decreased their time at work
  • 38% decreased their work quality
  • 66% said their performance declined
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident
  • 63% lost time avoiding the offender
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined

Toxic workers – whether just annoying or truly corrosive – are extremely costly to an employer. The Toronto Star references a study that showed toxic workers can cost approximately $12,500 per year, because the company will have to replace employees to who leave due to their behaviour. This isn’t even taking into account the costs listed above in terms of both quality and quantity from remaining employees.

In my view, toxic bosses can have an even greater negative effect than toxic peers. Anxiety, stress, and fear in the workplace aren’t motivators – they erode people’s ability to do their jobs effectively (watch my videoon this topic!).

What Can Be Done to Reduce Toxicity in the Workplace?

All is not lost! We don’t need to accept toxic behavior and its impact on our culture.

A good employee engagement survey and post-survey process can help organizations identify toxic behaviour, and help the leadership build strategies and action plans to progress toward a more productive, engaging culture.

As the ancient wisdom says: “a problem once recognized is half solved.” 

However, therein lies the problem. You will never get to the root of negative behaviour in your company if you aren’t measuring regularly and following a rigorous process to roll out the results, talk to employees, and take assertive action.

The first step is accepting that negativity may be a problem hidden in your company. The next step is recognizing that an employee engagement survey can kick the process off and highlight areas of concern. Unfortunately, far too many companies only do engagement surveys to comply with the latest in HR or to “get the Board of Directors off my back”. 

The only way to achieve the high performance culture that will propel your business to new heights is to take the employee engagement survey seriously and actually act on the insights it provides.

Ready to get serious about removing workplace toxicity and enhancing employee engagement? We can help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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