What Impact Do Disgruntled Employees have on Your business?
It’s often said that by the time an employee formally resigns, they have already divested themselves from your business for at least six months. Likewise, most businesses have experienced the joys, or lack thereof, of having a disgruntled or dissatisfied employee amongst their mix.
I’ve heard it described as ‘poison’. On such occasions, employers often just wish the staff member would leave rather than ruffle the feathers of everyone else in the office.
The difficulty can arise when this employee has skills valued by the firm. The whole struggle and debate from the employer’s perspective relates to a decision to remove the ‘poison’ from your office versus putting up with the discomfort simply for the skills and expertise this person contributes. When staff are difficult to find, sometimes it seems easier to retain the devil you know than try to find someone new. But no doubt, once the problematic staff member has gone, the employer questions themselves as to why they put up with the pain for so long. It’s almost as though a breath of fresh air sweeps throughout the business.
I pondered these thoughts during a recent visit to one of my favourite hotels. Over many visits, I continued to see a handful of familiar staff. However, in the last couple of visits one particular employee, who I had developed a good rapport with, seemed to be missing.
So, during my most recent visit, I asked myself the question, why this particular casual employee had otherwise found alternate employment?
This in itself does seem unusual. However, one evening while sitting in the hotel having a drink, this particular employee walked into the bar and approached me to have a chat. We discussed his new place of employment, his reasons for leaving and some of the difficulties experienced during his time at this venue. It was pleasant enough and good to see him. Following our discussion, he sat down and helped himself to some food and a drink; had a chat with other staff and generally acted as any other guest would.
As I sat back and watched all of this take place, it struck me as quite odd. Essentially, a previous employee of the hotel was now almost a customer, albeit one who was eating and drinking for free. Furthermore, given the employee had made some less than favourable comments about the hotel and its management, it seemed odd that he was happy to frequent there, except perhaps for the benefit of a free meal. Furthermore, watching him discuss his negative views of the establishment with other staff also seemed less than positive.
I thought to myself, I wonder how the hotel would feel if they knew this ex-employee was benefiting from its facilities whilst degrading their business to staff and, what’s worse, customers. I know as an employer, I would be less than happy with this scenario.
Perhaps it demonstrates good reason why employers should act swiftly when dealing with disgruntled personnel, those who are poisoning your culture, or those who have resigned but yet to leave.