Do Toxic Employees Cost Your Company Money?

While waiting for a Skype call to begin, I ran across this article on Spiegel Online, entitled Office Beasts: Venomous Employees a 10 Billion Problem in Germany.

In essence, the article talks about Power Egos or toxic workers who make life hell. (I use the word Power Egos. The article calls these people Toxifiers.) These people lie and manipulate and use any means possible to advance their career.

Five to ten percent of employees have a toxic nature

German psychologist Heidrun Schüler-Lubienetzki studied this phenomenon at length. She wrote a German-language book this year titled, “Difficult People in the Workplace.” Schüler-Lubienetzki proposes that five to ten percent of all employees have a toxic nature.

She points out that these workers are hard to detect because they hide their true nature. They are unpredictable. They can be nice one day and ruthless the next. Power egos weigh the opportunities inside of the political scene. There is only one purpose. Determine how to exercise power and control over others to advance their own careers.

Toxic employees consciously harm people

Power egos use information to “consciously harm people.” Schüler-Lubienetzki says they “deliberately bully and psychologically torture their colleagues.” All while flying under the radar, undetected.

Power Egos need people to submit to their “power.” They covet the trappings of their mental perception of power: the black tie events, the recognition and awards, the status at the private clubs, the money and all that comes with it.

Toxic employees cost German companies $11B each year

Schüler-Lubienetzki estimates that toxic employees create $11 billion in damage each year in Germany alone.

Workplace stress in the United States is estimated to cost $300Billion dollars each year. This manifests in the form of trouble getting along with co-workers/superiors, missed days and lateness among other reasons[1]. Power egos cost German companies eleven billion dollars each year. What do you think that number is here in the United States?

If power egos make up five to ten percent of your employee base, what is the financial damage to your company?

Please leave your comments below!

~Natalie Neelan

PS — In my upcoming book, Smuggling Innovation, I talk openly about dysfunctional company cultures and how to neutralize the toxicity from an employee perspective. Not everyone is in a leadership position after all!

Click here for some help that you can implement today if you are working with power egos.