We can’t stress the importance of a good hire in business enough.
Should you hire a good employee, you are pretty much guaranteed a boost to your profits thanks to their skills and talents that will benefit your workplace.
Should you hire a bad employee on the other hand…well, the opposite is true. Don’t get us wrong, of course. We aren’t necessarily inferring that the bad employee is a bad person per se, but they might simply be the wrong fit for your company. However, for the context of this article, we are specifically referring to those hires who through their poor behaviour and dodgy work ethics could scupper your business. Worried? You should be!
So, with the above in mind, let’s consider just a few of the ways how a bad employee could negatively affect your business.
#1: You won’t meet your business goals
Your employees are there to help you meet your business goals. And by goals, we are referring specifically to your financial and growth targets. A good employee will work to deadlines and get work done. They will be keenly attuned to your goals too, and knowing the end-game, they will make sure they work responsibly and productively to better prosper your business.
A bad employee probably won’t care about your business goals. They are in the job for the monthly pay packet alone and have little interest in the long-term plans for your business. As a consequence, they might put little effort into their work. They will do the bare minimum, possibly turn up to work late, and phone in sick more often than they should because they have little passion for your workplace.
Now, you can turn a bad employee around. You can share your goals with them and excite them with your vision. You could install time-tracking software on their computers and implement
Still, if, despite your best efforts to engage an uncaring employee, you need to follow disciplinary procedures. Usually, will this be in the form of verbal and written warnings, with the ultimate consequence being dismissal if they continue to care little about their work or the workplace they are working in.
#2: Your business will suffer from a poor reputation
You don’t need us to remind you of the importance of a good reputation. When people hear positive things about your business, you will see a rise in customers, business clients, and possibly even investors in your business. Your profits will rise, your business will grow, and both you and your staff will feel the personal as well as the financial rewards from the acclaim you have been given.
On the other hand, a bad reputation will drive down sales. When customers report bad things about your company on social media and business review sites, you will start to lose faithful customers and struggle to gain new people to your business. The media might also get wind of your business if there are any glaring problems, and this will further sabotage your business. It’s a scary thought, but it might become a reality if your bad employee does something to ruin your reputation.
So, what could they do to damage your reputation? Well, they might treat customers badly, be that on the phone, through email or live chat, or when dealing with them face-to-face. The employee might deal with them abruptly, ignore their complaints, or gossip about them to others.
Your employee might also gossip about you or other employees to others, or spread rumours and lies on social media. They might engage in criminal behaviour in or out of your business, and once discovered, this could result in a media backlash. They might also leak sensitive customer or business data, and again, this could hit the media when their behaviour is discovered.
As a business owner, you need to preempt any bad behaviour. This includes paying for customer service training, so your employees know how to respond to the people who use your business, and implementing strict policies about such issues as slander, data breaches, and criminal misconduct on business property. If an employee flagrantly disregards the training and policies that have been put in place, then you need to take the appropriate action to deal with them.
#3: Good employees might leave
Good employees are like gold dust. Once you have them under your employ, you need to do all you can to keep them on your side. So, you might take steps to reward them for their good work, provide employee benefits, and adjust their salaries accordingly as they progress within your business. This way, no matter how many times your business rivals try to poach them from you, or no matter how many times your employees see other vacancies being advertised, they will be less likely to depart from your company. Say ‘boo hiss’ then to the bad employee who might send your good hires scurrying away from you.
So, what could a bad employee do to cause a good employee to leave? Well, they might engage in bullying behaviour for starters. If they gossip about, slander, and threaten your other employees, then it would be of little surprise if they eventually left your employ. Your bad employee might also affect the morale of your workforce through their poor work ethics, as their lack of care for what they are doing might impinge on the rest of the team, and this might only lead to anger and resentment in your best staff.
As the business owner, you need to be mindful of the effect a bad employee is having on your team. If you notice signs of workplace bullying, or if an employee comes to you with a grievance about a bully, then you need to take action. Bullying in all of its forms, be it verbal, physical, or emotional, must not be tolerated. You should also take action if you see a drop in morale within your workplace. If you don’t, then not only will you see a drop in productivity within your workforce, but you will, as we are suggesting, also see a walkout of your best employees.
#4: You might face a lawsuit
The last thing any business owner needs is a lawsuit, as not only will it damage their business financially, but it will scupper their reputation too. And so it is with your business. However, a bad employee could be the instigator for a lawsuit, so this is something you need to watch out for.
So, how can a bad employee bring you into legal trouble? Well, they might bring a lawsuit against you themselves, as they might fake an injury on your business premises. They might also cause an injury to others if they disregard health and safety rules within your premises, leading to personal injury claims from customers or staff.
If you haven’t taken action to protect a good employee from your bad employee’s behaviour, you might also find yourself in a small claims court paying damages to the grieved employees. And your bad employee could commit criminal acts such as fraud, perhaps by stealing the intellectual property pertaining to another business, and you might ultimately end up paying for their wrongdoing.
What should you do? Well, you need to safeguard yourself with a lawyer of your own. You will then know where you stand legally before any wrongdoing takes place, and you will be able to take steps to preempt any issues. You will also have somebody on your side should a claim be brought against you, and especially where your employee was at fault, you might be able to shift responsibility away from you. Of course, you should also take steps to avoid a bad hire in the first place, and if you do spot signs of trouble early, you should discipline or fire them according to your policies.
How to avoid a bad hire
Okay, so you have now seen some of the consequences that might befall your business after hiring a bad employee. As alluded above, one of the best ways to preempt any problems is to avoid a bad hire in the first place. While this isn’t always easy – bad apples do fall through the crack – you should focus on the following.
Firstly, widen your net during the hiring process, so you aren’t forced to take on a potential bad hire because you have limited options.
Secondly, don’t just look at an applicant’s resumé. Take time to embark on the relevant checks on the applicant, such as speaking to their previous employers and by running a criminal background check. Google their names online too as you might find negative reports of them in the media or on social media sites. You might also spot signs of their bad behaviour when on sites such as Facebook too.
And finally, look for signs of a bad hire during the interview. So, if they appear to tell lies, or if they have little evidence of good work elsewhere, then you might have reason to turn them down for the job.
Don’t let a bad hire hurt your business. To give you a fighting chance of success, take steps to deal with any bad employees early, or as we suggested above, preempt the possibility of a bad employee at the hiring stage. Your business and your good employees depend upon it.