One thing that will kill your culture in a hurry is hanging onto negative, disengaged employees. Confrontation is hard. In fact I think I may have heard over 1000 excuses in my career for why managers don’t take action to terminate a toxic employee. A few of the excuses include:
- It’s never the right time
- I keep thinking it will get better
- Every time I’m ready to pull the plug, he makes improvement
- That will leave us short staffed
All of these can sound reasonable to our own ears, but the fact of the matter is that if we leave these individuals within our organization, their toxicity spreads like cancer. I’ve conducted employee focus groups over the years where the subject of toxic and disengaged employees is discussed. Hands down, focus group participants say they would rather work short staffed than suffer through a shift with the toxic and disengaged.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of coaching for performance improvement. It’s vital that you take the time to spell out the issues to the individual and discuss performance improvement measures. But don’t get stuck giving a disengaged, toxic employee a ton of your time and attention if you don’t see progress. All the time you spend trying to help them improve, is time taken from your solid team members who could use some reinforcement, recognition and challenges.
Don’t just sit there. Take action. And who knows; maybe you will be doing them a favor by “freeing up their future.”