What a Problem Employee Really Costs You

Was it Einstein who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? As a professional recruiting company, we’ve learned that most companies with high employee turnover rates have internal management problems that haven’t been addressed.

Recently a manufacturing company came to us with a hiring need. One of their key employees is so overbearing and caustic that no one can stand to work with him for long. Instead of removing the problem employee, however, the company is once again partnering with us to hire someone new. It’s a costly choice, and I’m referring to more than just the hiring process.

As an employer, you know that the hiring process is costly, even if you run the job search internally. Advertising the job, screening candidates, and setting your own work aside to interview candidates all involve time, money, and loss of productivity. But when you choose to keep a problem employee who causes other employees to leave, you also lose your investment in those former employees’ onboarding, training, and development.

A bigger loss is your company’s connection with your customers. Trust relationships are the lifeblood of every business-to-business organization. Those relationships are bound to suffer if the clients you serve must learn a different face or voice with every contact.

The hardest loss to quantify is company morale. The Houston Chronicle points out, “When the staff changes frequently, the employees who stay have a difficult time building a positive team dynamic. A group of employees learns to work well together, only to have one or more members leave. This leaves the staff in limbo until a new employee starts. The personality and work ethic of the new employee may vary significantly from the previous employee. High turnover can hurt overall morale of employees.”

Is it possible that every time you lose a good employee, you also lose a little passion? If you love your work like we do, your investment isn’t just financial–it’s also emotional. And just like money, there’s only so much of ourselves to personally keep reinvesting. Just as our passion is reenergized when others are ignited by its flame, it can douse our fire every time a valued but disgruntled employee walks out our door.

Hanging onto a problem employee is bound to negatively affect your bottom line one way or another. The question to ask yourself is, Does this employee’s contribution outweigh the losses caused by his or her behavior? If your answer is yes, then be prepared to grease the wheels of your hiring process! But it’s hard to imagine that even the most productive or knowledgable employee is worth losing other employees, damaging client relationships, and worst of all, dimming your passion for the work you do.

Want happy employees? Orient them to your company culture for a great start!

By Marcianne Kuethen

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