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How Much Are Bad Employees Costing You?

A new year is (almost) upon us and with that, a new years’ resolution to perhaps trim the fat. But this time we’re not talking about your waist line, rather we’re discussing cutting out those employees that are toxic to your workplace.

But before we go any further, what exactly constitutes a “toxic employee?” Well, according to the researchers at Harvard Business School who conducted the research, a toxic worker is one who has committed an “egregious violation of company policy,” such as sexual harassment, workplace violence, falsifying documents, fraud and/or general workplace misconduct.

So what does it cost you to let that bad employee go? The Harvard nerds suggest that the estimated savings from firing (or avoiding the hire of) a toxic employee is $12,489. The most depressing part? That figure only factors in the actual expense of replacing additional workers lost as a result of having the toxic worker on their team and doesn’t even touch on the potential cost of

legal problems, regulatory penalties or reduced employee moral from keeping a toxic employee on staff.

It should be noted that the research also revealed that the cost savings from dumping a toxic hire is more than double the monetary gain of finding a star new hire. Specifically, the Harvard folk suggest that employers receive a monetary gain by hiring a stand out worker of $5,303 over and above what an average worker would produce.

Commenting on the data, the researchers state that avoiding a toxic worker (or converting them to an average worker) provides more benefit than finding and retaining a superstar.” However, they do warn that in some cases, toxic workers can slip through the cracks somewhat because they can often be among the most productive in terms of output, consistently hitting sales targets or other metrics. They note that it is this ability to do their job that is the reason they’re hired in the first place and why they can prove so difficult to fire, but it is in the best interests of the company – both financially and socially – to make like Elsa and let them go!

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