Regardless of the size of your business, all organizations will have, at some point, had to deal with an employee who is causing issues in the workplace. For the sake of this discussion, we will call these bad employees. Whether the bad employee is under-performing, disengaged, disrupting other employees or just plain angry, the situation usually starts slowly but quickly builds in its ability to affect your business. Often the employee’s manager is either initially unaware of the brewing situation, or worse, just doesn’t want to deal with it. The longer the bad employee can continue with this behavior the greater the impact it will have on the organization now and long after they are gone. The question becomes “How is this bad employee hurting your business? There are many ways, but ultimately, they all lead to the same end; an impact to your business’ financial bottom line. Here are some of the possible affects to consider.
Negative Business Reputation
An employee who is unhappy at work will display their attitude in all their business dealings; both internally and externally. Poor customer service can be very damaging to your business reputation. Add to this that the other employees are likely having to pick up the slack and deal with the ramifications of the bad employee’s actions. This is likely causing them to miss some key opportunities with your clients. One or two missed opportunities may not hurt the business too much, but it can add up quickly. Eventually, your business is losing new and existing clients as they are not getting the level of service they are either accustomed to or looking for.
Bad employees can hurt the overall morale of the company. As mentioned above, the good employees may be picking up the slack for the bad employees and over time they start to wonder “Why does this person still work here?” or “Why do I want to waste my time working with this person?” These good employees will then start to become dissatisfied or disengaged as well, which can then lead to the next point.
When management fails to address an unproductive employee, hardworking employees may start to question their value in the company and consider their options. If they are motivated and want to feel like they are working for an organization that has drive and focus, this situation will eventually cause them to leave. Turnover, especially of productive employees, will cost the company money for recruitment, onboarding, and training of new staff. New employees are inherently unproductive as they adjust to their roles, they are also vulnerable to the influence of an employee with a bad attitude – which can lead to a vicious recruitment circle.
Good Employees Become Part of the Problem
The worst-case scenario for your business is that normally productive, motivated employees don’t see any corrective action and start to grow complacent. They decide that this behavior must be acceptable, and they might as well join the club. A complacent employee may choose the “if you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy to their work and settle into an unproductive pattern. Without discipline, you won’t have just one bad apple, but an entire team that is accustomed to a lax managerial response to poor performance.
Productivity, engagement, morale and ultimately your business’ bottom line can all be affected by a bad employee. If there is an opportunity to turn the situation around and salvage the bad employee, it must be done quickly. The longer the behavior exists the harder it will be to change. Otherwise, steps must be taken to remove the bad employee from your business as soon as possible.
Have you ever had to deal with a bad employee? How did it affect your business? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?