When Superstar Employees Don’t Get Along with Everyone Else
Mega-star employees come along every now and then. It’s great to have employees who over-perform. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the winning chemistry such a person enjoys with customers doesn’t extend to coworkers. In cases like this, an outstanding employee — while being an excellent source of income — can actually be toxic to the company.
HC Online spoke to HR expert Steve Rowe about how to deal with an employee like this. According to Rowe, “These people are often performing really well, but smashing everyone else in the process.” The trick is opening a dialog between management and the employee that doesn’t make things worse.
The first thing that’s needed is the buy-in of management that needs to be convinced that the long-term damage to company morale is at least as important as the results the employee is producing.
Next, the superstar has to be made aware of what they’re doing, and this is delicate. While the company wants to correct the problematic behavior, it doesn’t want to negatively affect their performance, or worse, cause an important asset to quit.
Rowe suggests a few strategies to try, beginning with a simple, honest conversation with the employee, where they are made aware of the problem. If that doesn’t produce results, another, less-diplomatic option is to assess a financial penalty for interacting badly with others.
Maybe the best solution is to make behavior an element of performance reviews. If what’s expected of all employees is made clear and concise on a company-wide basis, it’s easier to reward constructive behavior and manage issues as they come up.
Even when a company finds the problem can’t be solved overnight, both the value of the superstar employee and the importance of maintaining a positive work environment make taking the time to get it right more than worthwhile.