Friday, November 18, 2005

Domestic violence and productivity

Two University of Arkansas researchers found that for women in non-supervisory positions that had been victims of domestic violence and victimized in the last 12 months, their estimated lost productivity costs per year were $2,940 higher than non-victimized female employees in non-supervisory positions.

So you figure -- just fire the dv victims right? It will be cheaper? Well, on the face of it, I guess I could understand how someone could thing that way. Except:

1) You don't know who all the domestic violence victims are -- and some of them are your really good employees. CAEPV just did a national telephone poll of employed adults and 21% of them reported being victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives -- and all of them work somewhere.

2) Costs of hiring new employees are very high. According to Maria Grant, Deloitte & Touche partner in charge of the human capital program in Michigan, it costs $12,000 in recruitment and training expenses to replace the average nonprofessional worker and $35,000 to find a new professional employee. At the Families and Work Institute, experts tell companies it will cost about 75 percent of a nonmanagerial worker's annual salary to replace him or her and 150 percent of a manager's annual salary.

3) Workplace safety. Domestic violence often becomes a workplace violence issue, and by removing those who you think you "know" are victims, you have just created a dis-incentive for the rest of the victims to talk to you about the issue. It makes much more sense to provide a prevention and safety program for everyone.

The researchers also found that for victims whose workplaces provided support, the negative impact of the victimization was decreased. Cost savings? I would think so. More loyal employee? I would guess so. Possibility of helping to save a life while increasing productivity and decreasing healthcare costs (which I did not even discuss here) -- you bet!

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