Employees are the lifeblood
of your company. Without them, customers cannot be serviced
and income cannot be earned. As important as a good employee
and good employee is to your business, a bad employee or bad
employee behavior can also wreck your business and do so quickly.
The smaller the
business, the faster negative behavior from one employee can
affect your bottom line. Bad employee behaviors such as ones
described in this article can simply not be tolerated. If
the behavior cannot be excised, the bad behaving employee
must. Employee bad behavior not only spreads, it can drive
other good employees as well as your customers away.
Four Employee Behaviors That Can Kill Your
by: Jan B. King
I found it important to clarify for employees what
“deal-breaker” behavior was at my company. These are the things
I insisted would not be tolerated and would lead to immediate or
ultimate termination, depending on the nature of the infraction of
these hard and fast rules. Here are the behaviors I would not
1. Gossip - Rumors can be incredibly disruptive to a company. A
lack of information can get rumors started, and frank explanations
can usually stop them. However, some employees thrive on the
admiration of others when they seem to be “in the know.”
gossip as clearly as you can and tell employees what you expect them
to do when they hear it. First and foremost, that you don’t repeat
it. Along the same lines of gossip, remind employees that all e-mail
sent or received on company computers is considered company business
and not private correspondence.
2. Violence or threatening or abusive
behavior - Termination
should be immediate for any employee who engages in any form of
violent or abusive behavior. Workplace violence includes threatened
or actual abuse and can be verbal or physical. These behaviors only
escalate with time and are never excusable.
Any employees involved
in workplace violence should leave the workplace immediately and be
placed on a paid leave of absence for a few days while you
investigate the situation and consult with your attorney.
assume this couldn’t happen in your company—it’s estimated by
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that two
million Americans are victims of workplace violence annually.
3. Dishonesty and theft - The term theft can include the theft of
time, office supplies, and the use of office equipment for personal
projects. Set standards for what is acceptable use of company
Security experts say as many as 30 percent of workers steal,
resulting in an estimated loss of $50 billion a year from U.S.
companies and contributing to as many as one-third of business
As for dishonesty, I have a zero-tolerance approach. I dismissed
members of my accounting staff for what may seem to be petty
reasons: one for using $5 of petty cash as personal lunch money,
another for telling me he was home sick when he was out of state on
a long weekend vacation.
If key staff members are not honest with
you about small things, how can you be sure they will tell the truth
“when it counts?”
4. Substance abuse - Substance abuse is more rampant than most
employers know. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
estimates that from 6% to 11% of adults are substance abusers.
Substance abuse costs U.S. employers an estimated $100 billion a
year. Call your attorney to make certain you follow the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Illegal drugs are
expensive and have led financially desperate employees to commit
fraud. They have also been implicated in violent behavior in the
Commit to setting standards in your workplace and you will find a
calmer atmosphere, less turnover, and more attention to
productivity, growth, and profitability.