Five employees who cost you money

Three men in a meeting, two of them arguing

In order for an employee to be effective, they have to be worth more than you pay them. But, as we all know, it doesn’t always work out that way.

A good employee is productive and engaged. A bad employee us unproductive and disengaged.

Here are five types of people who cost your company money, and some tips on what you can do to avoid hiring them or to fix the situation.

The noisemaker: According to a 2013 survey by, the majority of U.S. employees (61%) said that loud colleagues are the biggest office distraction. The guy who won’t shut up, the loud talker, the woman who never answers her phone that is always at top volume, the people who watch videos without headphones. A distracted employee is not an effective employee.

Ask yourself if a candidate seems like a considerate person. And consider something like “no talk Thursdays,” during which everyone has to be quiet all day or for half a day.

The unhealthy person: According to a 2011 Gallup poll, full-time workers in North America “who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health conditions miss an estimated 450 million more days of work each year compared with healthy workers.” This results in an estimated cost of more than $153 billion in annual productivity loss.

Employee wellness programs and incentives like gym memberships and access, and rewards for quitting smoking can help with the bottom line.

The disengaged: It’s well known that disengaged employees drastically affect your bottom line. How much? A 2013 Gallup poll suggests that actively disengaged employees can cost North America between $450 billion – $550 billion annually in lost productivity. “They are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.”

The poll found that 52% of employees were disengaged, and 18% actively disengaged.

There are myriad ways to improve employee engagement. But first, if you want to test your staff, you could try offering them money to quit.

The pot stirrer: You want your employees to get along, not to bicker, snarl at, and resent each other. Once in a while someone comes along who causes trouble, who gossips and baits people, who is just generally not very nice. Conflict isn’t just distracting, it causes stress, which can cause illness, which costs you money. A study by CPP found that 85% of employees say they deal with some degree of workplace conflict. That conflict cost the North American economy upwards of $359 billion in paid hours in 2008.

The CPP report also talks about how to turn conflict to your advantage.

To avoid the pot stirrer, be mindful in the interview of how well someone looks like they’re going to get along with others. The cocky candidate, or the candidate with attitude, no matter how talented, might not be worth the trouble. Skill you can train for, attitude you can’t.

The bad manager: Research regularly shows that the No. 1 reason people quit jobs is because of trouble with the boss. And employee turnover has significant costs — 20% of a $50,000 employee’s salary to replace that person, according to one study.

A good manager is also expected to handle workplace conflict and improve employee engagement. Not to mention the day-to-day tasks of running an operation smoothly and managing a team. One study found that three out of four employees say their boss is the worst and most stressful part of the job. All these things add up in cost.

According to that same report, those bad bosses cost employers $360 billion each year in lost productivity.

It’s probably more important than anything to choose your management team wisely and to never, ever ignore a bad apple. One can spoil a whole bunch. Didn’t the Osmonds teach us anything?


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