Any company, if it’s been around long enough, has had the unfortunate experience of hiring the wrong employee. Despite a good interview, it’s not uncommon for some folks to just not fit into a new company or role.
But not enough managers realize that the damage of a truly bad employee can go far beyond the lack of productivity in a single role . A destructive or negative influence can have far reaching effects – even destroy a company if left unchecked.
Nobody can always hire the right person. The best defense is to be vigilant, and make sure that once you identify a bad egg, you take action. Bad hires aren’t necessarily unproductive, or even bad at their jobs. Yet they exert influence that can sap the energy of the rest of your organization.
Here are a few types of bad hires to watch out for:
Traits: Always unhappy, complains about work, negative about management, disrespectful to customers.
How it can cost you: Negative Nelly is just a pessimist by nature. When considering any problem, the glass is definitely half empty. Her contributions can seem beneficial sometimes, as she’s always pointing out problems, but she doesn’t spend nearly as much energy coming up with solutions as she does pointing them out. Too much focus on what’s not working, vs. how to fix it, can kill a project.
Traits: Spreads rumor, thrives on drama, doesn’t care about “facts”, fuels speculation
How it can cost you: Gossip can kill your employees’ motivations faster than almost anything. “Did you hear how much Bob makes?”, “Did you know Janet is sleeping with Ron?”, “Did you hear that layoffs are coming up?”. Gabby thrives on spreading and speculating on rumor, and can turn employees against each other, to terrible effect.
Traits: Micromanaging, controlling, doesn’t let others do their jobs, shoots down ideas, discourages independent thought.
How it can cost you: At first, a general seems like a great hire. They’ve got focus, and get things done right away. It’s only after other workers start to wilt that you might suspect something is amiss. It’s no fun working with someone who can only hear their own drumbeat, and you lose the innovation and excitement that can come from collaboration.
Traits: Likes to say no, doesn’t like change, can always come up with reasons why something can’t/shouldn’t/won’t be done, provides long time estimates for work.
How it can cost you: Anything the represents change seems like a threat to Ned. He’s comfortable in his world, and is fearful that anything different will be bad for him. You’ll see Ned putting the brakes on things like automation, process improvement and innovation, even if it’s clearly a better path forward. The Neds of the world can be found doing jobs other people don’t want to do – and doing them while still using paper and filling out forms in triplicate.
Traits: Coasts on others, loves meetings, provides vague updates on what they’re doing, never seems to directly produce anything.
How it can cost you: An unfortunate reality of growing a company beyond a few people is that it becomes harder to keep tabs on every employee. In fact, it’s almost easy for a worker to “get lost” within a big company and be that guy that everyone knows but no one knows what he does. A performance centered employee performance program, with metrics, goals and progress checks, can go a long way toward ensuring that no Dans settle into your cube farm.
Have an employee who fits into one of these categories? Maybe it’s time to make a change.
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