How many of you reading this have found yourselves in a situation where once good employees suddenly changed for the worse overnight?
Considering the title that drew you in, I’d guess most of you would raise your hands if asked that question. There’s lots of reasons why good employees turn bad.
It’s easy to point the blame at them straightaway, terminate their employment, and move on to the next candidate. This is just business, after all. Some people just weren’t meant for doing some jobs, or working for certain kinds of companies.
However, in some cases but not all, it might be you and the company’s way of doing things that are most to blame for the person’s sudden rogue shift in behavior. Some bad employees are definitely worth saving, if you can identify the reason that made them turn in the first place.
Here’s 3 common reasons good employees turn to the dark side:
1. They don’t fit inside the company culture.
There are so many cultural issues that can cause a good employee to fall astray within the company ranks. And guess what? Most times it isn’t because they’re a social pariah that can’t get along with anyone.
In fact, there are a few much more common cultural reasons, that really aren’t the fault of the so-called “rogue” employee at all (source):
- The culture itself isn’t entirely clear: Or clear in any way, shape, or form! Is the company all about a job “done”, or does the job need to be “well done” before it’s submitted to a client or manager? Should people voice their concerns openly whenever there’s a problem, wait til the next office meeting, or must they never utter anything unpleasant at all?
- Management is a poor example: Maybe the culture is clearly defined, but you have a bad manager or two among your ranks, who preaches one thing, yet does another.
- A 24/7 mentality in a business that’s supposed to be chill: You can’t tell new hires that you and your staff are relaxed and easy-going, only to do an about-face and make them feel like time is something nobody in the office has to spare, for any reason.
One way or the other, when a good employee goes bad due to culture, there’s little that can be done other than fixing that which is broken. If it’s truly the employee’s lack of ability to fit in, they have to be let go, or else.
2. Their goals aren’t inline with the company’s.
Goals can definitely become misaligned between the company and its employees when they aren’t communicated clearly in the first place. Which is why it’s so important to have clearly written policies (signed by both sides), accurate job descriptions, and rules of etiquette for all employees to follow.
However, when goals are clearly communicated and the employee still doesn’t exhibit the values needed to accomplish those goals, Kylo Ren has them in his clutches and nothing more can be done but to terminate them and move on.
3. They’ve been put in a position that doesn’t use their strengths.
- Suzy is a dynamo when it comes to administrative duties, so you decide to make her the official Social Media Manager for the company.
- Mark keeps the company IT running like a top, so naturally his computer prowess makes him the perfect candidate for the new Web Designer position.
- Or, Kevin has proven himself to be a marketing maven and is quickly accepted when he applies for an outside sales position that just opened up – and you soon discover he’s a horrible salesman!
These and other problems are most common when an otherwise great employee finds themselves shifted to another position entirely, or when downsizing or under-staffing causes them to take on extra responsibility they’re not suited for.
However, putting employees in positions that don’t utilize their strengths also often falls on HR not doing their job vetting the new employees they hire. This fact-based article offers some startling statistics about the cause and effect of bad hiring decisions. In such circumstances, finding a position that makes better use of their talents will usually solve things.
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If you can think of more common reasons you’ve dealt with in regards to good employees suddenly going bad, leave a comment and share your story.
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