5 Types Of Employees You Can’t Afford To Keep

 In Business, Business Advice, Employee Motivation, Starting a Business

Elaine Pofeldt Independent journalist and editorial consultant.

July 26, 2011

With the economy showing signs of slowing, you may be wondering if you have the right team in place to navigate whatever crazy detours lie ahead. Many companies are relying heavily on their existing teams—instead of a large infusion of new talent—to power their growth. But is that the best idea?

recent survey of about 66,000 businesses with 20,000 employees or fewer that use Intuit Online Payroll found that, while hiring—which has been flat for months—rose 0.2 percent in June, a significant number of firms have decided to increase hours and pay for existing staff rather than hire additional people to handle the work. The numbers reflect this. According to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, average hours and monthly pay for hourly workers both rose 0.2 percent in June, after each measure dipped 0.1 percent in May.

So what type of staffer do you need for your company to thrive under current conditions? “The ideal employee is someone who does their job above and beyond while continually looking for opportunities to learn and grow,” says Andrea Nierenberg, an executive training, recruiting and consulting firm in New York.

Many bosses, however, find that this isn’t quite the profile of the folks they have on their payroll. Here are five types of employees who, either directly or indirectly, can chip away at the health of your company (not to mention your sanity!). If you can’t rehabilitate them, Nierenberg recommends finding a replacement.

The creativity zapper

In today’s fast-evolving business world it’s essential to encourage your entire staff to keep fresh ideas flowing, even if some are half-baked at the moment and need a generous dose of feedback from others to be useful. An employee who persistently responds to colleagues’ suggestions with comments like “We did that in the past, and it didn’t work” can act as an enemy of innovation. Who will want to share suggestions for growing the company if an office sniper is likely to make them feel stupid?

The poor listener

The workplace is less hierarchical today than it once was. No matter what his or her role, someone who never stops talking long enough to hear what colleagues are saying won’t deliver the results you need or help morale any. Workers need to be open to learning from everyone on your team, even the most junior members, and if they’re not, you could be missing out on important information.

The one-person show

Many great employees will never be “rah-rah, go-team” types. But today’s workplace is more collaborative than ever, says Nierenberg, so there’s no room for someone who can’t find a way to work effectively with others, whether it’s colleagues, contractors and freelancers you hire, or members of a client’s staff.

Mr. (or Ms.) Rigid

Companies need to be nimble enough to react instantly to changing economic conditions. “Today, things turn on a dime,” notes Nierenberg. That means your employees, in turn, need to be flexible about the work they do. If they resist new types of projects or can’t change priorities quickly, they could be hampering your firm’s ability to stay current.

The luddite

In the not-so-distant past, every office seemed to have a few people who got away with ignoring new technologies. That era is over, says Nierenberg. Today, in virtually every job today, she says, “You have to be up to date.” While a boss can’t demand that employees spend their free time hanging out on Twitter or Facebook, it is reasonable to require that they master new technologies needed to do their jobs better, putting their best effort into training the company provides. Rest assured, your smartest competitors are requiring their teams to stay current.

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