Many of us have experienced toxic behavior in the workplace. Though many of us use stories and anecdotes to illustrate and process our experiences, few of us have had access to quantifiable data when attempting to communicate the importance of managing these behaviors at work. What are the full costs of toxic workplace behavior? To help organizations get clarity around the value of reducing toxic behaviors, we’ve anonymized and aggregated a trove of data around this question, and taken it upon ourselves to use this data towards offering meaningful insight for companies across the world.
How we quantified the costs of toxic workplace behavior
Last year, we kick-started this conversation by publishing a study called "The Cost of a Toxic Hire.” It was a breakthrough resource showing how much money companies were losing to the turnover and absenteeism caused by toxic employees. While the response was overwhelmingly positive, we recognized that some companies were losing far more than $1.2 million per year. We soon found even more data on how much market cap companies were losing to the impacts of toxic behavior, and the measures that boards are taking to protect their companies from the fallout of workplace misconduct.
Earlier this year, we launched the Toxic Employee Handbook with Dr. John Sullivan, a thought leader in the world of talent management. This newly released handbook covered over 40 distinct categories of damage caused by toxic employees and offered new tools to start building a business case for formal toxic behavior reduction efforts. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive. More and more companies are looking to understand the full extent of damages that toxic employees inflict on our businesses and to discover ways they can identify them before they harm our organizations.
Still, we get questions about the value of preventative methods such as social media background checks. As the leading provider of online background screening, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients to develop strategies to identify workplace behaviors ranging from subtle bigotry to violent threats. Even though more than 70% of employers today research candidates on social media before hiring them, we’re often asked: why should I look online to keep my company safe from bad hires? In an effort to answer this question, we worked with our data scientists to create a report that illustrates how your industry stacks up when it comes to toxic online behavior.
Is your industry suspect to toxic work environments?
We are pleased to announce that our Industry Benchmarking Report is now available for download. Using a combination of anonymized data and leading research, our study looks at how many employees in a variety of industries are exhibiting toxic behavior online, and uses this information to determine which industries exceed the toxic behavior threshold.
The toxic behavior threshold is the point at which a business begins to experience irrevocable damages due to the impacts of toxic behavior. Research shows that when just 5% of a workplace is engaging in toxic behavior, whether online or offline, the company begins to experience over 40 different categories of damages. These damages become increasingly difficult to address the longer the company waits to act and can result in millions of dollars in losses from the top and bottom line.
In this report, you’ll learn the steps we took to create this threshold. You’ll discover why it’s important to look online for damaging workplace behaviors and learn more about how you can counteract the their noxious effects. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn whether your industry was in the 20% that passed, or the 80% struggling to deal with the issues.
Rayner Jae Liu is a marketing manager with experience in employer branding and talent management organizations across Europe, Asia, and North America. He is currently serving as Fama’s editorial manager helping to expand the conversation around the future of HR, and is passionate about crafting more sustainable and equitable futures for all.