Why Bad Employees Never Leave

At Baker Creative, we often perform human capital and culture audits. I am often perplexed when a company that is clearly struggling recognizes there is a problem employee and some are not performing to the level they are looking for, but still retain them. There are often a variety of reasons for this:

The manager is friends with the poor performing employee.

The boss does not want to let this person go because it is comfortable. They may blame their shortcomings on other staff members or things out of their control to schmooze the boss.

The boss doesn't want to go through the hassle of the hiring process.

It takes time to review applications, conduct interviews, check references and train a new employee. Some managers may believe it's easier to deal with the negative consequences or poor performance rather than having to deal with the new hiring process.

The boss thinks there could be worse candidates out there.

Some managers have miss hired in past or fear that other candidates will be worse than the poor performing employee they already have.

The boss is afraid of the employee.

Some may be concerned if an employee may sue the company or possibly become violent if let go, will have an impact on how long it will take to terminate this type of employee. If management receives a threat, the company needs to consult with legal or security experts to put appropriate measures in place before moving forward with this employee.

The boss feels sorry for the employee.

In such cases, a boss is sympathetic to the employee, and not to those whom the employee's actions may be hurting.

Some may worry if this employee were to be fired he or she won't be able to find another job. If the employee needs the money to support a family, has health problems, debt issues or has recently had some life challenges, management may feel it's best to retain the employee.

The employee has specific knowledge.

The employee might know something embarrassing about the manager or this person may know how to use a certain piece of equipment or skill set no one else has may buy more time for a poor employee.

I understand how challenging it can be to run a business and a department efficiently. The pressures of time and resources are often the key drivers to just getting through the day. But at what cost? At the cost of offering poor customers service or not hitting your department goals?