Stop Complainers & Energy Drainers Survey Results (Part 2)

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It was great to escape the Texas heat a few weeks ago to speak to an awesome group of construction professionals at a conference in Denver on how to deal with Conflict and Toxic People a.k.a. “Jerks.”  While in town I was also invited to talk about it on the local FOX Good Day Show. 

Jerks are worth complaining about! As I put the finishing touches on writing the book Stop Complainers & Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done, I’ve added an entire section on how to handle an office jerk who complains and drains your energy. After reading your survey responses, several people identified themselves as complainers or “reformed” complainers – so I’m adding a self-assessment to help you find out if you could be the complainer.

Last month you saw the survey results about why people complained. This month we look at the costs of those complainers and energy drainers. The results revealed just how expensive it is to keep complainers on your work team.

More than 700 of you took the Complainers and Energy Drainers survey.

Listed below are the top answer(s) to three questions that measure the expense of these energy draining parasites:

How much of your time do complainers, interruptions and/or energy drainers occupy in a week?

  • 0-2 hours (20.9%)

  • 3-6 hours (45.6%)

  • 7-10 hours (21.9%)

  • 11-15 hours (6.3%)

  • 16-20 hours (3.1%)

  • 20+ hours (2.1%)

How much money does this cost you and your company? First, determine your hourly rate. Then, multiply that amount by the rate you spend each week with complainers and energy drainers.

For example, let’s use the average hourly rate of $30.61 based on the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – June 2012.”  79% of the survey respondents reported a minimum of 3-6 hours per week being wasted. This unproductive time costs companies $4,591 to $9,183 per employee per year. ($30.61 x 3 or 6 hours x 50 worked weeks per year).  At the very least, that’s about a month and a half of productive time each year being drained away!

Which would  you choose: 1) a $10,000 annual pay raise that requires you to work daily with a chronic complainer or 2) work with people who don’t complain at your same annual pay?

  • A $10,000 pay raise that requires you to work with a chronic complainer (25.3%)

  • Work with people who don’t complain at your same annual pay (73.9%)

Are you surprised? Even in this economy almost 3/4 of you would maintain your current pay if you could also maintain the complainer-free work environment.

Have you ever left a job because you couldn’t stand working with a complainer?

  • Yes (12.6%)

  • No (86.6%)

Really?!  If more than 1 in 10 employees have left a job because of a complainer think of your recruiting and retraining costs plus the drain of knowledge on your company.

Thank you again to those who have participated in the survey! Please watch for my book, Stop Complainers & Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done.

 About Linda: A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues and strategic communication, Linda Swindling, JD, CSP is an author, media expert, a “recovering” employment attorney, and a professional speaker. Contact us to book Linda to speak at your event.