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typical cost of a bully to the employer and the impact on productivity and profitability
Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this

The typical cost of bullying

Few employers understand how a bully impairs productivity, hinders performance, and damages profitability. This page looks at a typical example of the effect of one serial bully on one department's performance.

Population of the UK: 60,000,000

Number of workers / employees: 28,000,000

The majority of Advice Line cases involve a manager bullying a subordinate in a professional or semi-professional context.

The average wage for a lower-middle level manager or professional is around 20,000 pa.

The effect of bullying on a targeted subordinate is to cut their work rate and effectiveness by 50% (at least), therefore the annual cost of bullying to the employer in this department is 10,000.

The serial bully impairs the effectiveness of other employees, so say a further four employees earning 15,000 pa have their performance impaired by 33% (4 x 5000), plus a further eight employees earning 10,000 pa have their effectiveness cut by 20%. ie 8 x 2000 = 16,000.

Target:        10,000
+4*5000:  20,000
+8*2000:  16,000
                 ----------
                  46,000
                 =======

Experience from over 10,000 Advice Line cases suggests these estimates are conservative.

The majority of bullying is carried out by a superior, so say the bully is a grade higher on a salary of 25,000pa. The serial bully is a dead weight who survives by plagiarising other peoples' work so his/her annual cost is 25,000. Although glib and plausible, only when the serial bully leaves will it be discovered how little work that person completed - and much of that will be to a poor standard requiring the work to be junked or done again properly.

Serial bully:                 25,000
Effect on employees:   46,000
                                 ----------
                                  71,000
                               =======

The lowest estimate of bullying, an IPD survey, estimated that 1 in 8 workers bullied which equates to around 3.5 million people.

For safety, take my estimate of 1 person in 100 being a serial bully, therefore 1/100 of 28 million is 280,000 (less than 1/10th of the CIPD's estimate).

                                                       280,000 x 71,000 = 19.88 billion
Cost of stress and stress-related illness (TUC, HSE, CBI etc): 12 billion

                                                         Cost to UK plc: around 32 billion a year.

This doesn't include consequential costs, legal costs, insurance costs, compensation costs, staff turnover costs, re-recruitment and re-training costs, loss of investment in training and experience, loss of employee potential, benefit costs, injury to health, loss of revenue due to employee being out of work and no longer paying tax, family breakdown, costs to society, etc.

For the latest surveys, estimates, facts and figures on bullying click here.


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