more productive than average and yet less profitable

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Toxic workers are those who, with their actions and comments, contribute to creating a bad environment in a team or in an entire company by promoting bad habits and discussions that exhaust their colleagues. With them there is an important paradox, according to a study by the Harvard Business School: In quantitative terms, they are generally more productive than the average, but in the long run they end up costing the company more than they contribute and, therefore, hamper its growth.

Why? The aforementioned research indicates that these employees tend to work faster than normal workers, but only individually and in quantity of tasks, not in quality. This means that their personal results in quantitative terms are, in general, good, which means that companies tend to consider them good professionals. But the lack of quality of these tasks means that they do not contribute to increasing the added value of the company, so in the long term they end up being costly for the organization.

In addition, the study points out that these toxic workers tend to trust their professional capacity excessively, which leads them to be much more individualistic and not work as a team, something that, also in the long term, harms the company, no matter how much their numbers are good. Also, beyond their good figures, their bad attitude and comments towards work, the company, bosses and colleagues make the organization’s environment worse, so their colleagues run the risk of being less productive and the company from losing good employees who can’t stand that situation.

How much does a toxic worker cost? After analyzing almost 200 companies and more than 58,500 workers in them, the authors of the study have calculated the extra annual cost (that is, beyond their salary) that a toxic employee has for the company only in additional rotation, that is , in the hiring of new professionals due to the abandonment of employees who cannot stand the bad environment. Thus, the estimated cost of a toxic worker would be 12,800 dollars a year, about 12,600 euros at current exchange rates.

star worker. To better contextualize this data, the study authors also calculated how much it costs organizations to find, hire and keep an industry superstar. That is, a professional who generates so much value for the company with his work that to maintain the same level without him, the company would have to hire more employees or pay overtime to those who are already on the staff.

The research found that the costs of keeping a top employee, who due to their qualifications, experience and talent only represent 1% of the total number of professionals in the sector, would be 5,300 dollars on average. Therefore, keeping a toxic worker costs more than twice as much money as hiring a highly qualified employee.

Image | Djordje Petrović

Toxic workers are those who, with their actions and comments, contribute to creating a bad environment in a team or…

Toxic workers are those who, with their actions and comments, contribute to creating a bad environment in a team or…

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