Why Troubled Employees Can Ruin Your Business

Discover how troubled employees can harm your business. Learn about signs, impacts, facts and solutions.

Do you have an employee who seems to bring negativity wherever they go? Troubled employees can be a real drain on your business, affecting everything from morale to customer service. This article explores the warning signs of a difficult employee and the ways they can impact your company’s success.

The Difficult and Troubled Employee

It is good to know what the signs oar of a difficult and a troubled employee. These are the types of employees that do have the ability to ruin your business. This is the type of employee that can tarnish the reputation of any good business. Your business might have an employee that is difficult or very troubled. If you notice the followings signs then you might have hired an employee who is trouble with a capital “T.” These signs include the following:

  • the employee is very convincing. This employee may even convince their own selves that they are smarter than most of their co-workers
  • the troubled employee does not seem to take “no” for an answer
  • the employee tends to make many excuses because nothing is their fault. This is more than a lack of responsibility on their part. This employee can easily find a reason for their own errors. It will never be their fault, typically it is their co-worker’s fault
  • this employee engages in chronic gossip
  • this employee tends to erupt quickly or they seem to be on the verge of exploding

These are just the beginning of the signs of a troubled or difficult employee who has the ability to ruin your business if not addressed properly. There are many more signs that a troubled employee will display.

How they Affect and your Business

The troubled and difficult employee has a variety of methods that can and will ruin your entire business.

The following items will be bad for business and will reflect poorly on everyone in the company. These are a few of the ways:

  • the gossip that is spread will be very disruptive to the entire business. This will break down trust and credibility
  • abusive behavior will lower morale and reduce self-esteem. The business will suffer because motivation and enthusiasm will get very low
  • the employee can evoke rage in the customers by provoking them with their troubled behaviors
  • opinions of the brand and services may go viral and the business reputation can get lost and smeared
  • false information about products or services may spread to the customers when a misinformed employee begins to talk
  • the overall customer service may go down due to the unprofessionalism and lack of enthusiasm
  • poor images of the entire company may deflect your customers or prospective customers
  • the customers may become neglected due to the overall dysfunction
  • the troubled employee may carry themselves poorly and this can offend your customers
  • their social media post may have strong and distasteful opinions that reflect poorly on your business
  • overall employee performance may become affected within the work environment

These are a sample of ways that a troubled employee can actually ruin your business. This list does become longer. These are the top ways that will negatively impact your business with the difficult or the troubled employee.

Lowered Standards

The troubled employee can greatly lower the standards of your business. Do not underestimate their influence and impact on those around them. One troubled employee can cause much harm to any business. There are also solutions that will prevent the trouble employee from completely ruining your business.

Facts and Figures

Here are 10 facts and figures related to the impact of disgruntled employees on businesses:

1. Cost of Disengagement:

  • Disengaged employees cost companies an estimated $450 to $550 billion annually in lost productivity and increased turnover.

2. Productivity Impact:

  • Disgruntled employees are 18% less productive than their engaged counterparts.
  • A single disengaged employee can negatively affect the productivity of an entire team.

3. Turnover Rates:

  • Companies with high levels of employee dissatisfaction experience 51% higher turnover rates.
  • Replacing an employee can cost up to 150% of their annual salary.

4. Customer Satisfaction:

  • Disgruntled employees provide poor customer service, leading to customer dissatisfaction and potential loss of business.

5. Healthcare Costs:

  • Stress-related health issues due to workplace dissatisfaction contribute to higher healthcare costs for companies.

6. Innovation and Creativity:

  • Disgruntled employees are less likely to contribute innovative ideas or engage in creative problem-solving.

7. Company Reputation:

  • Negative employee experiences can damage a company’s reputation and impact its ability to attract top talent.

8. Workplace Safety:

  • Disgruntled employees may engage in unsafe behaviors, leading to workplace accidents and injuries.

9. Absenteeism:

  • Disengaged employees take more sick days, resulting in increased absenteeism.

10. Legal Costs:

  • Disgruntled employees may file lawsuits related to discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment, leading to legal expenses.

The impact of a troubled employee can be far-reaching. By recognizing the signs and taking action, you can protect your business from negativity and ensure a healthy work environment for everyone. Don’t underestimate the power of one bad apple; address the issue head-on to keep your company thriving.


1. Who is a troubled employee?

A troubled employee is someone whose personal problems or work-related issues negatively impact their job performance or behavior. This can manifest in decreased quality of work, absenteeism, or tension with colleagues.

2. How to deal with troublesome employees?

To deal with troubled employees, focus on open communication. Observe and document performance issues, then have a private conversation to express concerns and offer support. Explore solutions and resources like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) if needed.

3. How do bad employees affect a business?

Bad employees can hurt a business in many ways, including: reduced productivity, bringing down morale, higher turnover rates, damaged customer relationships, and potential safety hazards.

4. How does sabotage affect a business?

Sabotage, when an employee intentionally harms the business, can have devastating consequences. It can disrupt operations, damage reputations, lead to financial losses, and erode trust within the workplace.

5. How to identify employees who are troubled?

Signs of troubled employees include: frequent absences, difficulty concentrating, increased mistakes, withdrawn behavior, or conflicts with coworkers. Be mindful that these can also stem from work-related issues, so open communication is key to identifying the root cause.

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