If you’ve been in business for even a
few years I am sure you’ve heard or read this statement: “If you think good
employees are expensive, try bad employees”. It is a phrase that executive
leadership and HR groups have come to use as a mantra over time. But, this
statement is often overlooked by sales managers, and I believe it is due to either
being in the weeds or believing the issues of a bad employee will resolve
Let’s first look at this from the eyes
of the sales manager viewing the sales rep. Generally I’ve found many sales
organizations are very slow to recognize and react to bad reps (bad employees)
because they are focusing on the accomplishments and successes of the good
employees. Bad employees get pushed aside which then make them worse employees.
And, it is typically too late to correct bad employees, thus leading to many
terminations. Sales managers get frustrated quickly when their bad employees
are not performing. They begin to ignore them and then these employees go on
about their day as lone rangers.
The term bad employee means a lot of
things to a lot of sales managers. The rep may not be the right fit for the
organization. They may be a behavioral problem. They may have a bad attitude.
They may blame others for their shortcomings. Regardless, they are expensive in
terms beyond just compensation. Whatever the issue, not all bad employees are
bad people, and some can be changed.
The same goes for a bad employee that is
in a leadership position. Bad sales managers can be very expensive and again
not just in terms of compensation. How many good reps has the sales manager
lost or pushed away? How many deals did the sales manager blow due to ego or
lack of trust with the reps? How many manage through fear tactics instead of
The basic cost of an employee is quite
easy mathematically. Salary, commission, bonus, taxes, benefits, etc. all determine
the loaded cost of any one employee. What cannot be easily calculated is the
cost of the employee, good or bad, in terms of client relationship management
skills, likeability, leadership or mentoring qualities, business and personal
connections, and reputation in the marketplace. These are serious factors that
must always be taken into consideration
when calculating the cost of a good or bad employee regardless of their
specific position within the company.
Ultimately, the value placed upon a good
employee is priceless, while the cost of a bad employee is expensive. Very,