When the operations of your MSP company are being hampered internally, you need to figure out where the issue causing trouble is and fix it. First, you need to determine if the problem is external or internal. If the problem is internal, you need to determine if it’s something operationally derived, something stemming from machine operations, or something stemming from a problem employee. Problem employees are often a bigger problem than you may realize because the most problematic ones try to hide the negative impact they’re having on your company. However, this isn’t always the case. The point is, determining who is and isn’t causing your business can be hard and you need some objective methods to help you determine if you’ve got an issue on your hands. Several ways to discover if you’ve got a problem employee include:
- An escalation of bad behavior
- Decrease in productivity
- Waning morale
- Multiple employees start turning against you
- Complaints from clients and other companies with whom you work
An Escalation of Bad Behavior
Your MSP company is certainly going to encounter bad behavior among workers. This may not represent a problem employee. Say one of your software engineers loses a girlfriend. Say this individual hasn’t had a solid history of acquiring and maintaining partners. HIs or her work could be affected by depression, which makes them snappy and results in unprofessional displays of emotion. Such a thing is fleeting and may not represent a bad employee, just one going through hard times. Everyone is there at one time or another. Sometimes, problem clients can push the limits of employee patience in a way that anyone would find trying. Kick a dog long enough, and even a well-behaved and humble one will bark. People often have the same quality. So, you can’t just look at bad behavior. You’ve got to look to see if that bad behavior is getting worse. This is a sign an employee may have turned on you or is in the process of doing so.
Decrease in Productivity
If you’ve got a problem employee, you can bet they’re not going to be interested in being productive. How can they? They’re just going to strive to “maintain”. You’ll see their output normalize and decline. Over time, this will continuously and negatively impact your company. Bad behavior that escalates and decreased productivity are very indicative of a problem employee.
Employees who lose heart lose morale and this is communicated subconsciously by the way they conduct themselves. You’ve got to be careful. A decrease in morale doesn’t always restrict itself to a single employee. Such a thing begins to spread throughout your team. There’s an old Calvin and Hobbes strip, where Calvin says nothing is better for a bad mood than spreading it. A bad employee with an accompanying bad attitude is apt to spread that attitude with an impish deliberateness.
Multiple Employees Start Turning Against You
Nobody likes to be sour and dour in a vacuum. People are social beings. When a friend goes bad, he tries to turn his “allies” toward his way of thinking. Some of them are naturally inclined to follow suit as a means of preserving the friendship. This can make your employees mutinous if left unchecked. You need to find the wolf among the sheep and expel him.
Client and Company Complaints
When you’ve got a bad egg in the dozen, it will rot the souffle. When you’ve got a bad employee, they will impact client relations through apathy alone, if nothing else. This results in complaints. The same thing will happen with vendors and other companies you work with. You don’t want a single bad employee losing your clients and undermining vendor relationships. You can trace back complaints and issues. Find the responsible individual and do what must be done.
Avoiding Toxic Employees
Your MSP company needs to take preventative action when you notice such signs which could escalate into a loss. Hire carefully, build real relationships between employees and yourself, and when you find problem employees, let them go.