One Bad Employee Can Damage a Healthy Culture
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One Bad Employee Can Damage a Healthy Culture

One Bad Employee Can Damage a Healthy Culture

I recently saw a sign in a business window: “We are hiring.” It listed every position they had. Even more shocking was the message at the bottom of the sign: “We do not drug test.” So many businesses continue to look similarly desperate when they are understaffed, making them less attractive to top talent. Most companies hire reactively, racing to fill openings caused by turnover or growth. When companies reactively hire, their objectivity is distorted and their hiring standards become compromised, because one bad employee can spread like cancer even in a healthy culture.

It is Better to Lose the Sale Than the Reputation

As leaders of businesses, we all want sales growth. It is our oxygen, it is what we strive for and strategize for. It is what most of our incentives are based upon. However, anytime you compromise the experience you provide to your customer because you are wanting to capitalize on the sale, but you are allowing a less-than-excellent employee or untrained rookie to serve them, you will lose sales in the long run. You will never recover from the poor reputation or the impression that the customer now has about doing business with you. You will lose the customer, and worse, the brand assassination that the customer is now doing will prevent others from doing business with you.

Too many companies are trying to solve staff shortages by hiring people as fast as they can just to fill positions. They are also keeping toxic employees with bad attitudes. But these decisions do nothing to establish a culture of trust; they all but guarantee animosity between employees, creating a hostile work environment. Trust, between leaders and their employees, and between employees, is an essential aspect of culture in every healthy organization. Conversely, a lack of trust is one of the top barriers to business success.

In any job market, the cost of employee turnover rates is high. Not only the hard cost of the time spent recruiting, screening, and retraining new employees, but in employee morale, lack of consistency in customer experience, and existing team members questioning their decision to stay. In fact, a dysfunctional work environment is one of the strongest predictors of employee attrition. And the best talent is never attracted to poor company culture known for employee burnout. In a time when online employee feedback provides warning signs about organizations’ cultural issues to job seekers, negative work environments don’t stay hidden for long.

For the Greatest Success, Focus on Employee Experience

The number one priority for businesses today should be focusing on keeping their top talent by improving internally and creating a more positive, collaborative culture. This must be part of every company’s core values and foundational to its employee experience. Stop trying to find great employees. Instead, develop an action plan for your cultural improvement efforts. Focus on becoming the type of business great employees find, then infuse this energy into your customer experience training and watch your employee retention and happiness–and your bottom line–soar.

Published: January 1st, 2024

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