Hidden Costs of Workplace Trauma

The effects of workplace trauma can hardly be overstated. In fact, ask any expert, like San Francisco workplace harassment attorney Jeremy Pasternak, and they might even tell you that the costs of workplace trauma are slightly underrepresented. 

Traumatized workers take a significant blow on account of the painful experiences they’ve endured, and this hit extends to the organizations that they work for. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re considering how deep the effects of trauma can reach.

The Reality of Workplace Trauma

While you might think that only earth-shattering events are those likely to cause trauma, research shows that this isn’t actually the case. Trauma can come from any sort of stressful or toxic work environment, and the exact triggers can vary from individual to individual.

For some people, it doesn’t take an extreme act to trigger trauma, and it might come from simple interactions that still take their toll. Getting bullied or belittled on the job can sometimes cause trauma, especially when they are a regular occurrence. In fact, there exists a wide range of seemingly basic actions that can cause trauma to occur. By and large, though, a few factors are present in cases where trauma does occur, which include:

  • The loss of control: The less control an individual feels they have over a situation, the more trauma it is likely to cause them. The lack of control is often a critical factor between something perceived as traumatic versus merely annoying.
  • It doesn’t make sense: If something is confusing, incomprehensible, or just plain “doesn’t make sense,” it is more likely to cause trauma to the individual.
  • A lack of predictability: Unpredictable and uncertain events cause a large amount of stress and anxiety. In turn, they can make experiences more traumatic for the individuals who are experiencing them.
  • A lack of resilience: Different individuals have different levels of emotional toughness. The less “tough” an individual is, the more likely they are to be traumatized by certain events. Note that this is not a character defect, however, as this factor relies on many biochemical responses beyond an individual’s control.

Now, when an employee has been traumatized, it can disrupt every aspect of their ability to work. Traumatized workers are less able to learn new skills, adapt to the changing forces of the workplace, or interact with others on the job. 

When an employee becomes traumatized, everything that made them an effective worker is compromised. It’s for this reason that employers need to take every instance of trauma seriously, and do whatever possible to safeguard their staff through traumatic events.


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