Rarely a day goes by without a headline that reveals misconduct or poor culture at a major enterprise organization. Depending on the offense, the impact of toxic behavior varies widely, but regardless the potential damage is significant.
The Damage of a Toxic Employee
- Lower Morale—In a Gartner study, 80% of employees experienced less commitment to their workplace because of a toxic employee
- Performance Decline—With the contagious nature of toxicity, having just one toxic employee in a group can bring down team performance by 30% to 40%.
- Higher Turnover—Gartner found that 12% of employees have left an organization entirely due to a toxic coworker.
- Increased Risk—Overlooked toxic behaviors, such as bullying or harassment, can open a company up to legal risk. Unfortunately, companies like Uber, Fox News, or Nike know all too well the repercussions of turning a blind eye to toxic behavior.
- Damaged Brand Reputation—If a situation escalates to legal action or becomes a press nightmare, organizations face both financial and organizational costs to deal with litigation, public relations, crisis management and brand reputation management.
In March 2018, Nike’s boys-club culture and the shortcomings of the human resources department was a topic of the national conversation regarding how to address and expose these important issues.
Early in 2018, 100 Google employees organized to combat cyber bullying against employees. The group demanded more well-defined rules for internal forums, enforcement of rules, and protection for targeted employees.
Artificial Intelligence and Toxic Behaviors
The cost of a wounded culture cannot be understated, leading to increased turnover, reduced productivity, and decreased brand sentiment. Protect your organization, and its culture, by investing the time and resources to minimize and remove toxic scenarios.
Identify and Address Toxic Behaviors
Firing a toxic employee can prove difficult due to the lack of “hard evidence” exposing the behavior, yet these employees hurt the business. As employee communications continues to become more digital, that "hard evidence" is also easier to discover.
At Wiretap, we analyzed the contents of over 1,000,000 employee messages and found—among other insights—that communications in one-to-one conversations are 250% more likely be to toxic than a public message.
By leveraging artificial intelligence, human resources teams can revolutionize the way they identify and deal with toxic employees.
For example, company leaders can monitor employee digital communications—such as private or public messages in Microsoft Teams or Workplace by Facebook—and automatically flag violations of predetermined company policies.
This saves teams a significant amount of effort searching for evidence of a violation and creates more time to determine an appropriate response.
Determine an Action Plan
In a digital scenario, some tools, such as Aware by Wiretap, allow automation when violations or other incidents occur.
For example, organizations can set messages with a high level of sexual content to notify a human resources representative for follow up.
Alternatively, content with foul speech can trigger an automated communication coaching the employee that the transmitted word choice is inappropriate for work.
Each organization is unique, and therefore must determine the most appropriate response based on existing corporate culture. Most importantly, though, leaders must consistently communicate that the organization will not tolerate toxic behavior.
The Industry Leading Enterprise Collaboration Monitoring & Insights Solution
Aware by Wiretap’s AI-driven, proprietary sentiment model analyzes workplace communication and delivers a real-time sentiment metric informed by both message content and context.
Leaders need only to check a dashboard to keep a pulse on organization sentiment. If they see an issue, they can investigate—bias free. With shared content monitoring functionality, the team can also pull relevant messages and leverage additional context to identify the root of the sentiment change.
See how your enterprise stacks up with these benchmarks.
Request a free Collaboration Risk Assessment to gain visibility into employee interactions and identify potentially harmful or inappropriate communications on your organization’s collaboration platform.