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Chủ Nhật, 5 tháng 4, 2015

Don't hire jerks: they sap morale and cost money - Times LIVE

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New research confirms what most people already knew: the office antagonist ought to be fired. Jerks in the workplace bring morale down, cost a lot of money to deal with and risk sending good employees running.

For a report published this week, talent management firm Cornerstone OnDemand analysed a data set of 63000 employees and singled out "toxic employees", or people who were dismissed from their jobs because they harassed their co-workers, falsified documents, engaged in fraud or were violent in the workplace.

Not surprisingly, the firm found toxic employees made people around them miserable. When the ratio of toxic employees rose by a one in 20 ratio, their co-workers became 54% more likely to quit their jobs, the firm found.

All that quitting can get pretty expensive. Because jerks make bystanders more likely to leave, which in turn pushes up replacement expenses, Cornerstone OnDemand estimates that, in a group of 20, it costs an average of $12800 (R154000) to bring on board just one toxic employee. (That's not including any lawsuits that might result from illegal behaviour.) It costs roughly less than a third of that - $4000 - to hire someone who is not toxic.

Though toxic employees had a "fairly negligible effect" on the rest of their co-workers' performance, the firm said, they were seen as creating "a caustic environment that has more long-term effects on employee stress, burnout, and peace of mind".

Nastiness also seems to be contagious. "Toxic employees have the potential to poison the entire well, and the cost estimates issued here should be considered conservative since they do not account for the spread of toxic behaviour and its second-hand effects," the firm said.

The obvious takeaway is that companies shouldn't bring on rule-breakers and misanthropes: it saves money, and makes everyone happier, to skip hiring them in the first place. But sussing out the problem employees isn't quite as easy as it sounds.

Some companies have turned to personality tests to screen job applicants, but scrapped them altogether after finding them ineffective. And research has suggested people are hard-wired to act selfishly at their jobs (although selfishness, of course, is quite different from harassing a co-worker).

Employees stuck with terrible co-workers might try a new strategy: print this article out, highlight the dollar figure and strategically misplace it right on the boss's desk.

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