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According to a Harvard Business Review Study, organizations of all sizes face significant cultural difficulties when their workforces are contaminated by offensive and harassing behaviors.

The study found the following revealing “soft costs” (alternatively defined as cognitive and emotional impact of workplace incivility) that are associated with intolerance and harassment.

While these “soft costs” undoubtedly have an impact on workplace culture and employee mental health, the employer-focused skeptic cannot help but understand the impact on productivity (and ultimately revenue) associated with hiding an organization’s collective head in the sand with regard to preventing incidents of workplace harassment. Significantly reduced work effort, absence, stress, poor quality of work, co-worker aversion, and diminished commitment can all be quantified as revenue and work product losses that should be avoided. This is before we even discuss the implications of increased turnover on the organization.

In a small organization, the incident leading to a lawsuit can mean having to cease operations or declare bankruptcy.


“Soft Costs” Have a Significant Impact on Small Business:

The soft costs of harassment may not make headlines, but they are the true impact that smaller businesses need to think about. A larger organization might be able to get away with high turnover and unhappy employees because the sheer number of employees in their overall workplace will mask the true causes of turnover and lack of productivity, but in a smaller organization, everyone will hear the details of incidents in near real time.

If smaller organizations believe they can get away with ignoring the causes of harassment (and their impact) because no formal complaint has been filed, they are missing the mark. It is only a matter of time before one of the “90%” of their workforce who is likely to be subjected to offensive workplace behavior ties his or her termination for harassment-related stress to a pattern of behavior. When that happens, the litigation and defense costs to the organization can reveal themselves. In a small organization, the incident leading to a lawsuit can mean having to cease operations or declare bankruptcy.

My HR Department is presenting this information as seen in ExPerspectives in Syntrio.com 

For more information or for the full article, visit their website.