Get set for some eye-watering figures.

A report commissioned by INvolve revealed earlier this year that the cost to the UK economy of workplace discrimination was £127 billion; £123 billion of which was gender discrimination, £2.6 billion against ethnic minorities and £2 billion due to sexual orientation.

In 2017, it was reported that 21st Century Fox paid $90 million in settlements related to allegations of sexual harassment at its Fox News channel.

In their 2015 study, Acas estimated the economic impact of staff absenteeism, turnover and lost productivity as a result of workplace bullying was £18 million.

The cost of workplace discrimination, harassment and bullying to business is significant.

And these are mounting costs. In addition to the cost of reduced productivity and bullying-related staff absences, a third of people who have been bullied at work go on to leave their job leading to additional recruitment costs – from advertising and interviewing candidates to training and inducting a new member of staff.

We must also bear in mind the far-reaching reputational cost of incidences of discrimination, harassment and bullying. We’re all familiar with Warren Buffett’s famous quote “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”, so can you afford to impact the opinions, decision-making and actions of your stakeholders, shareholders, customers, clients and supporters?

Not forgetting the cost to your people; the victim themselves in the cost to their confidence, self-worth and wellbeing and their colleagues in losing trust, faith and respect for the HR department, in management and in the organisation itself, particularly if incidences are ignored, swept under the carpet, concealed or ill-managed. Your people are your brand advocates, look after them.

So, my questions to you are…

What value to do you place on employee welfare and cultivating a positive and inclusive workplace culture?

Is the perpetrator of inappropriate or bullying behaviour worth the cost, regardless of their length of service to the company or their income generating potential?


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