Should Dead Weight Employees Automatically Get The Boot?

According to new research from consulting firm Mercer, companies have bigger issues to deal with then the number of people who want to leave their jobs increasing by 9%. It is the 21% that are saying they are apathetic about whether they stay with their current company or not. These are the employees that have significantly more negative things to say about their companies than both people who were staying and people who planned to leave.  These people are dead weight for a company and they present a difficult challenge for any manager. They act as viruses for a company.

Dave Van De Voort, a human resources consultant at Mercer, said deadweight employees usually fall into two categories: likeable employees who are bad at their jobs and people with valuable and needed skills that are very negative and bring everyone down.

But do you just cut these people to make the problem go away? According to Ronald B. Brown, the founder and president of Banks Brown, a management consulting firm that specializes in providing leading-edge skills to optimize the performance of leaders and organizations, that may be a mistake. First you need to find out what you can get out of this person. You need to do a full inventory of their strengths and weaknesses. Then try to take some of those weaknesses and make them effective. If the person is very critical then use that attention to error to your advantage. The most important thing is to figure out why these employees are so disengaged.

If the person is really not performing up to snuff then you need to emphasize how critical the role is that this person is performing, and how much more you could accomplish with someone else. “You could even frame it to your bosses in terms of a tradeoff, as in, if it’s really so important to us that we do X well, then we need to get someone else in there. It’s important, though, to discuss this in terms of your needs versus your problems so it doesn’t seem like you’re just complaining — emphasize the additional results you could achieve if you could get person A or B,” said Brown.

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