interview » Why Bad Bosses Are Bad For Business

Why Bad Bosses Are Bad For Business

May 6, 2013

Every workplace has them. The annoying, micromanaging, or simply incompetent manager. But a new study shows that bad bosses aren’t just bad for worker morale – they are also bad for business.

Psychologist and workplace intervention expert, Michelle McQuaid, conducted a study of one-thousand people. The study showed bad bosses can cost the economy $360 billion annually in lost productivity. McQuaid says three out of every four people report the most stressful part of their day is dealing with their boss.

According to workplace data analysis firm Evolv – a recent study at Xerox (XRX) demonstrated the major effects of poor workplace management. Evolv zeroed in on 2,000 Xerox customer service employees. The department suffered from high turnover rates. Evolv found a number of factors contributed to that trend. Within six months of the study, Xerox cut attrition by 20 percent.

Research across the Evolv network showed supervisors are the strongest predictor if employees are going to quit. The study found better supervisors, or those who engage with their teams, can keep people five to six times longer than the “drill sergeant” type of leader.

Xerox expanded the study across a workforce of 20,000 employees and continues to see improvements. The company is managing the same number of customer interactions with a lower turnover rate and higher productivity.

Evolv through its research has found other intriguing employee trends.

Employees who belong to at least one to three social networks tend to stay longer at their post, than those employees who engage in four or more social networking sites. Evolv data analysts think activity on too many sites may suggest short attention spans and a desire to change projects frequently.

Evolv also found employees who submitted online applications through browsers that did not come preinstalled with their computer, such as Firefox or Google’s Chrome, tend to perform better and change jobs less often. Evolv said installing and upgrading your browser suggests employees will go the extra mile or take the extra time to make a more efficient worker.