Why One Employee Can Destroy Your Company Culture

It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. An employee who acts against company ethics, gossips, underperforms or simply gives out “bad vibes” will trigger a trickle effect of consequences against the company’s performance resulting to low employee morale. And, more often than not, dealing with one rogue or disruptive employee will end up far more costly than investing in hiring a new person for the job. Why is that one bad employee can destroy your company culture and have such a lasting effect on your business?

According to psychologist Roy Baumeister, “bad is stronger than good”. Negative feelings are far more powerful psychological triggers than positive ones, they can provoke actions and feelings with long lasting effects. That is why it only takes one disruptive employee with behavioral issues to become the “bad apple” that harvests negative feelings and attitude to the rest of the team. An experiment on team effectiveness and employee misbehavior by Will Felps, Terence R. Mitchell and Eliza Byington, found that having just one rogue employee in a team can reduce the group’s performance by 30% to 40%. So how exactly does a bad employee affect company culture and what should you look out for?

Employees engage less

Behavioral disruptions within the company demoralize employees and creates a loss of engagement with coworkers, resulting in loss of team spirit.

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Loss of creativity as employees focus on office “drama”

When your employees’ focus is on what’s happening in their surroundings, they start to gossip and willingly or unwillingly become a part of the office drama. This forges a counter-creative environment for the entire company.

An unhappy employee equals an unhappy customer

It takes a lot of time and effort to establish a trusting relationship with your customers. Nevertheless, it is easy to damage your company’s brand and reputation. Unhappy employees are most likely to take out their frustration and issues on the customers, which can lead to a string of damaging effects.

Unpleasant working environment

Nobody wants to work in a negative environment where someone is constantly imposing their bad attitude on everyone else. It is proven, that employee productivity is related to happiness. Employee happiness is an integral part of your company’s core set of values so, look after it.

 

How can companies proactively deflect those negative effects? Well, the most effective way is to avoid hiring bad apples.  The usual ways of screening candidates lack the necessary overview when determining a person’s character. The candidate may seem perfect on paper but in reality, can lack fundamental social skills and drive.  Finding high-value candidates doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. When hiring new talent, employees can work as the best referral system. Why? An organization’s own workforce is the best screening process when getting a personal recommendation about the candidate from someone who already knows them. This ensures that the entire team, as well as customers, will not have to deal with a disruptive and negative person, and therefore minimizing the risk of hiring a bad apple dramatically.

 

For more on how your human resources can benefit from employee referral, click here.

Majella Grawatsch

Majella is committed to developing Firstbird's referral platform and pushing the boundaries of HR. Part of the team since 2015, she spends lots of time crafting and writing content across a variety of areas.

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