We’ve all met well-meaning jerks who are often right and almost always believe they have the organization’s best interest at heart but leave a trail of human carnage behind them.
The stakes can get higher, when the board gets involved, when investors don’t want to deal with you, or when a nasty termination escalates to a human rights case. You may want to retain the stellar developer, designer or product manager, but at what cost?
And while there was a TON of head nodding as Daneal outlined different personas and how they come to life in your organization, more importantly, attendees were empowered with tactical, practical guidance on the early warning signs of a pervasive jerk culture and how to bring the organization back from the brink.
What made this especially effective was inspiration drawn from a McKinsey study that estimated the cost of top performing, brilliant jerks on your organization. That study argued that a toxic salesperson had cost the organization $160,000 (USD). Many attendees suggested that this cost was actually quite low.
Aside from obvious big ticket items like severance, replacement costs and litigation, Daneal suggested that there are links to be made to mounting absenteeism, sick days and EAP claims.
As HR finally morphs into a more data-driven function, this is a principle - understanding the costs of your business - that is critical not only in remediating issues but in making business cases for where to invest time and money.
Results from a recent employee engagement benchmarking study of 35,000 employees point once again to an employee's relationship with their boss and their perceptions of an organization’s leadership as having a major impact on their engagement and whether they will do the job they are paid for.
Companies should not be surprised by this and should in fact take a much more proactive, data-driven and action-oriented approach to weeding out jerks. If for nothing else, since two thirds of your annual operating budget is spent on people, why let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?