Managed IT can be a rough business. Virtually all of your business is dependent upon your reputation, and that is a disturbingly fragile thing. This is why you invest so much in technology consulting marketing, and still, you can come up short. Worst of all, no amount of diligence can protect you from the inevitability of having a bad employee on your staff. Too many managers prefer to ignore a problem like this because it can be so difficult to correct, but that is a mistake. When you see just how much damage can be done by one employee, you’ll commit to keeping your staff as elite as possible.
Not everything done by a bad employee can be expressed in dollar signs. That hasn’t stopped researchers from trying anyway. CareerBuilder conducted a survey in 2013. While the data is a few years old now, it can give a strong idea of how much one employee can do. The survey received responses from roughly 6,000 hiring managers. Among them, 27 percent said that they experienced problems with a bad employee that cost their company $50,000 or more. That’s not chump change, and it only reflects one employee. Stay in business long enough and you’ll see more than your fair share of these undesirable workers.
One of the easiest ways for an employee to hurt a company is through their reputation. Reputation damage is hard to quantify. You get revenue losses from dissatisfied customers, but you also lose potential revenue from referrals. In managed IT, even a simple security mistake can lead to a data breach that cripples your reputation. Imagine how easily a disgruntled employee could destroy the name you work so hard to build. Countless hours and dollars expended on your technology support company marketing can be lost all too quickly.
A more quantifiable number, workflow is where the bulk of that $50,000 estimate originates. Bad employees are typically unproductive, but since IT usually requires collaboration, the shortcomings of one bad employee can easily impact the productivity of all of their peers. This slows turnaround times leads to redoing work that should be completed and just costs money all around.
This brings us to the final point. The good employees who get stuck with the underperformer’s slack tend to lose morale. This can extend beyond project peers and even impact the mood of managers. When that happens, negativity proliferates quickly. If you consider the cost of a single bad employee, think about how much more damage they can do through lowering morale. When left unchecked, one bad egg can lead to many more.
All of this brings us to a simple point. You can’t leave bad employees alone. Since firing can be a risky prospect at times, remember all of the tools at your disposal. Coaching, reassignment, and incentives can sometimes turn a bad employee into an asset. When those efforts fail, firing might be the only way. What matters most is that you remember just how great a risk one bad employee can pose. That should help motivate you to hire exclusively and act without hesitation or else risk undoing the entire effort of your technology services marketing.