Employees you can’t afford to keep
Employers usually worry about losing star performers to their competitors. But there are some employees who are so damaging to the organization that you can’t afford to keep them on board. Workplace bullies fall into that category.
The topic of workplace bullying has been covered in the press quite a bit lately, but it’s an issue that isn’t taken seriously enough. For example, when you read or hear individual complaints about workplace bullies, do you ask yourself, “I wonder if that person is just a whiner?” Or maybe that person just can’t cut it in the organization, and he or she doesn’t want to hear criticism about shortcomings from a boss or a colleague.
Some people overreact to direct and honest communication and call it bullying. When reputation and a job are on the line, it’s easy to be sensitive about a supervisor who is constantly nagging and harping about performance. This is where HR professionals come in. Their expertise is invaluable in probing these scenarios and complaints. HR professionals can protect their organization from lawsuits and loss of productivity by taking workplace bullying seriously.
A recent article by Paul Marciano on Monster Thinking outlines a real-world example of a client who insisted on keeping a bully who brought in lots of revenue, but also cost the company money in turnover, absenteeism and lack of productivity. It could be argued that on paper that bully was productive. But when you subtract all the money spent on replacing employees and workers spending time thinking and talking about the bully, those revenue numbers may not be as high as they appear.
HR metrics have been able to calculate cost-per-hire and other workplace measures. Is it possible that soon HR professionals will be able to measure how a worker’s management style and teamwork, impact the bottom line? That type of insight could shed a new light on what we consider a productive employee. I’d venture a guess that there are workers out there who may not be at the top of the balance sheet, but they are the glue that holds together many processes and projects.
Have you observed how a bully can affect workplace productivity? What steps have you taken to defuse a bully at work?