These days, workplaces have become a very diverse space. You will meet all kinds of employees there. Companies try their hardest to recruit the best possible candidates. But, it’s hard to figure out what ‘type’ of employee a person is until they’re on the job.
In this article, we’re going to discuss five types of employees and our tips for dealing with them.
- The Underperformer
The underperforming employee can have a negative domino effect on the workplace. When other employees see the underperforming employee not getting reprimanded for his or her dismal performance, they feel they can get away with it as well. This will eventually lead to a drop in overall productivity.
Some alleged quotes from performance evaluations:
“Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”
“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”
“Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”
When encountering a chronic underperformer who is not responding to performance management, employers should ask themselves these two questions:
- Does the underperformer really want to be here?
- Will attempting to negotiate a separation produce better results?
- The Complainer
You’ve probably come across employees who are never happy no matter what happens. Complaints should always be taken seriously, but not every complaint carries the same weight. Employees who are making a complaint should first have a workplace right to make an objection against their employment. If action is taken against them for exercising their rights, they are allowed to pursue a claim.
But, this doesn’t mean that unwarranted complaints should be allowed to affect the workplace. Employers should asses whether a complaint is legitimate or not. Maybe these complaints are signs of behavioral issues that need to be immediately addressed.
Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, says:
“If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”
- The Coaster
Some employees are not necessarily bad performers but they are obviously not giving their all. These employees only do the bare minimum. They don’t add any value to the company and are satisfied to just be there.
J. J. Watt, American football defensive end for the Houston Texans of the National Football League, says:
“If you do the bare minimum, expect bare minimum results. You want to be great, work to be great. Nothing just happens.”
An organization should develop a high-performance culture so that employees can know that coasting will not cut it. To achieve a high-performance culture, an effective performance management process is key. Communicate shared goals, define targets, highlight timeframes, and award productivity. Pretty soon all the employees will be working hard.
Also, get a real time monitoring tool that tracks employee performance. This will weed out the coasters.
- The Bully
Some employees have a mean streak in them. Many try to hide it but eventually show their true colors after they become comfortable enough. Bullies make the workplace toxic and bring down the morale of their coworkers. They can even affect overall productivity if their behavior is left unchecked. This is especially true if such bullies are in a position of power.
Tim Field, the anti-bullying activist, says:
“Bullying consists of the least competent most aggressive employee projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most competent employee and winning.”
An organization’s core values should include mutual respect and tolerance. Those who don’t follow these codes should be given a fair warning. If they still don’t change their attitude, then the company should let them go.
- The Star
An organization’s star performers should be recognized. Their hard work should be rewarded with increments and other incentives. If they feel that they are not being appreciated enough then they will start looking elsewhere and the company will slowly earn a bad reputation in the industry.
Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition that Works, says:
“In behavioral economics terms, when we offer recognition we are acknowledging that the recipients have met a social ideal. They are behaving in a certain manner because they believe is the right thing to do. If we then recognize that behavior with praise or appreciation, we offer a confirmation that their behavior is desirable, and do so in a manner that recipients find meaningful.”
There are other types of employees as well. Humans are complicated creatures. Some can’t even be categorized as a certain type. However, the above-mentioned types are the most common among today’s workplaces.