Let me start with a hat tip to fellow Professional EOS Implementer, Eric Albertson, for sharing an interesting Harvard Gazette article with me. It’s titled Beware those toxic co-workers by Christina Pazzanese, Harvard Staff Writer. You can read the whole article here.

It resonated with me because it provides some empirical data which supports the EOS mantra,- Right people, right seats, you have to have both.

Here is the data the article offers. “According to a new Harvard Business School (HBS) paper, toxic workers are so damaging to the bottom line that avoiding them or rooting them out delivers twice the value to a company that hiring a superstar performer does. While a top 1 percent worker might return $5,303 in cost savings to a company through increased output, avoiding a toxic hire will net an estimated $12,489, the study said.”

What we teach our clients is that just as important as having the right skills to do a particular job well (right seat) is that an employee fits your core values as well (right person). Almost every EOS client I have has at least one of their core values that deals with respect for other human beings (co workers, customers, vendors, partners, etc). EOS Worldwide  for example has Do the Right Thing as one of their core values. Toxic employees, as defined in this article, clearly don’t do the right thing (wrong person). Worse, they are often allowed to persist in their toxic behavior because, ironically, they are often very good at what they do (right seat).

Given how difficult it is to find super star employees, teaching and enforcing your core values in the hiring process and in the employee review process is something every company can and should do.

So you have to do both. Hire for values and for appropriate skills. We share a simple tool for our EOS clients to use to assess both values and skills. It’s called the People Analyzer. You can download it here. You can read an earlier blog post here which explains how it is used.

Photo credit: Program Executive Office Soldier

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