High-Performing Employee with a Bad Attitude? What to Do

Andrew Bennett, Alliant Human Resources

What do you do if you have employee who has a bad attitude that is affecting that person’s productivity, or the overall productivity of coworkers and/or the organization? Simple, try to manage that employee towards an improved, positive attitude. If that fails, terminating and replacing that employee is probably the best answer.

But what if that employee with the destructively-bad attitude is outstanding in terms of personal productivity?

Although this employee is producing for the organization, he or she may be having a negative impact on other employees, and therefore, overall organizational productivity. Again, rehabilitative managing should be the first option, but you must consider the overall health of the organization and possibly terminate even high-performers with bad attitudes.

Doesn’t Terminating a High-Performer Hurt the Organization?

Terminating a high-performing employee may feel counterintuitive and counterproductive. But consider that, according to studies, almost 90% of employees say that they become far less productive themselves while working with someone with a bad attitude, and that they wanted to change jobs. Is it worth keeping the high-performing employee with the bad attitude and lose many others who may also be high-performers? Probably not.

Consider Your Own Health and Productivity

I have had several small-business-owner clients who, due to an employee with an uncorrectable bad attitude, have become miserable themselves. His or her own daily personal productivity suffers, and his or her own personal life is negatively impacted due to the constant stress and worry about the situation. These business owners have difficulty sleeping, they lose their appetite, and their active and social life suffers. This is not why they went into business, so is it worth all this to keep the high-performing employee with the bad attitude? Again, probably not.

So What’s an Employer to Do?

Do not be afraid to terminate a high-performing employee with a bad attitude if that bad attitude is having a negative impact on the business, other employees, or yourself. Consult with an HR expert to help you work through the situation if you need the guidance. Be sure you terminate the employee properly, then get on with replacing that employee and watch the organization improve!