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Not all good employees stay that way. Some sour over time and become disenchanted due to burnout, lack of promotions, low company morale, or other company and personal life changes.

Behaviors of a bad apple employee can spread like a virus causing significant damage to your organization. Business owners and managers often ignore early signs that an employee is not behaving to company standards and often fail to promptly address the bad behaviors. An employee’s bad behavior, reinforced by lack of action by management, can grow out of control. Once out of control, the damage to the organization has already been done and may take time to correct. Best to address the issues quickly.

Here are 7 signs that an employee has gone sour like a bad apple:

1. Repeatedly making the same mistake
2. Asking for special treatment
3. Constantly complaining
4. Frequently late or absent from work
5. Unwilling to follow established processes
6. Lack of initiative
7. Frustrating co-workers

Many hiring managers prolong the agony created by bad apple employees by giving them multiple chances to correct their attitude, behaviors, actions, and overall performance. Hiring managers do this for two reasons. They like to believe that people will change or they are fearful of the emotional and time drain of firing and hiring someone new. In my experience consulting with many hiring managers in these situations, most bad apple employees are eventually terminated as they often fail to correct their bad behavior.

Terminating an employee can be a tough decision, yet sometimes it must be done. And in the case of a bad apple employee, the sooner . . . the better.

Here are three strategies for planning an upcoming termination and replacement hire:

1. Let the employee go, and then hire replacement.
2. Hire replacement discreetly, and then terminate the employee.
3. Counsel out respectfully; allow them time to find a job while you search for a replacement.

The method you use will depend on degree of damage the bad apple employee may be causing or the necessary work that their position is required to do on a daily basis.

If you need help in a transitional hiring situation and would like to increase your chances of hiring an employee that is a good fit for your company, give us a call at 317-578-1310.

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