Action Required – A Disgruntled TVA Worker Blasted His Workplace, So Why Do You Still Have A Single Disgruntled Employee On Payroll Today?

You know you have disgruntled workers and the damage they’re doing, yet your HR fails to drop them? Can you explain this failure to act? 

(A one-page quick read)

This action recommendation is intended to be 100% direct. After this TVA incident, it’s time to stop having a single disgruntled employee on your payroll because they are evil! Yet, most of us can easily name several disgruntled people within our organization. It’s now time to estimate the $ damage they do because it continually piles up. And at least from this author’s perspective, don’t dwell on any threat of violence. Instead, I am advocating a continuous process for paying off, drumming out, or directly firing each and every one because these employees are the equivalent of “viral infections” within your organization. So, before the year’s end, damn the excuses and the excuse-makers, and make eliminating everyone a no-fail corporate metric!

Once you understand and calculate the damage they do, any resistance will quickly fade.

Identifying them is easy because everyone already knows who they are. They have openly shared their unhappiness and disdain for team values for years. They’re not collaborative, they abuse others, and they avoid additional work. They barely meet performance standards, and they purposely anger and frustrate teammates. The damage they create usually occurs in these areas.

  • Lost Productivity – both individual and team productivity slows because everyone loses focus away from team goals.
  • Lower Innovation – disgruntled employees limit shared learning and collaboration between all team members. Which eventually directly reduces any implemented innovation and the additional team funding that comes with it.
  • High Turnover – turnover remains a key problem because the frustration caused by a disgruntled drive many to think about or actually quit continually.
  • Problems in Recruiting – potential recruits quickly sense how many in the team dread coming to work. So, you can’t recruit the needed quality among your replacement hires. 
  • Less Volunteering – many won’t volunteer for overtime or extra work projects because they dread the possibility of having to work additional hours alongside a grumpy employee. 
  • Others May Copy – when other employees realize the advantages of being a jerk have few negative consequences, other employees and managers may copy this negative behavior. And other managers may join in and begin tolerating it.
  • Customers Will Also Notice – customers will be uneasy if they have to interact with these disgruntled employees, which will likely reduce your initial sales revenue. And it will certainly reduce return purchases.
  • Measurable Brand Damage – if customers begin to associate disgruntled employee behavior with your employer or product brand, you are in even more serious trouble. 

The Recommended Action

Once you get over being tolerant or giving them third and fourth chances, getting rid of a-holes, jerks, and disgruntled employees actually requires little more than a high level of courage on the part of executives, managers, and HR. I recommend using the West Coast high-tech approach to immediately get rid of them without legal issues by literally paying them to leave while forfeiting their right to sue. However, also realize that even if they sue you. Those legal costs will likely be much lower than the damage that will cause the organization if you let them stay on the job. Finally, develop an ongoing process for continuously identifying and fixing or releasing all newly developed disgruntled employees.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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