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Four Employee Behaviors that can Kill Your Business

I found it important to clarify for employees what
"deal-breaker" behavior was at my company. These are the
things I insisted would not be tolerated and would lead to
immediate or ultimate termination, depending on the nature
of the infraction of these hard and fast rules. Here are
the behaviors I would not tolerate:

1. Gossip. Rumors can be incredibly disruptive to a
company. A lack of information can get rumors started, and
frank explanations can usually stop them. However, some
employees thrive on the admiration of others when they seem
to be "in the know." Define gossip as clearly as you can and
tell employees what you expect them to do when they hear it.
First and foremost, that you don't repeat it. Along the same
lines of gossip, remind employees that all e-mail sent or
received on company computers is considered company business
and not private correspondence.

2. Violence or threatening or abusive behavior. Termination
should be immediate for any employee who engages in any form
of violent or abusive behavior. Workplace violence includes
threatened or actual abuse and can be verbal or physical.
These behaviors only escalate with time and are never
excusable. Any employees involved in workplace violence
should leave the workplace immediately and be placed on a
paid leave of absence for a few days while you investigate
the situation and consult with your attorney. Don't assume
this couldn't happen in your company-it's estimated by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that
two million Americans are victims of workplace violence

3. Dishonesty and theft. The term theft can include the
theft of time, office supplies, and the use of office
equipment for personal projects. Set standards for what is
acceptable use of company assets. Security experts say as
many as 30 percent of workers steal, resulting in an
estimated loss of $50 billion a year from U.S. companies and
contributing to as many as one-third of business

As for dishonesty, I have a zero-tolerance approach. I
dismissed members of my accounting staff for what may seem
to be petty reasons: one for using $5 of petty cash as
personal lunch money, another for telling me he was home
sick when he was out of state on a long weekend vacation. If
key staff members are not honest with you about small
things, how can you be sure they will tell the truth "when
it counts?"

4. Substance abuse. Substance abuse is more rampant than
most employers know. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services estimates that from 6% to 11% of adults are
substance abusers. Substance abuse costs U.S. employers an
estimated $100 billion a year. Call your attorney to make
certain you follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
requirements. Illegal drugs are expensive and have led
financially desperate employees to commit fraud. They have
also been implicated in violent behavior in the workplace.

Commit to setting standards in your workplace and you will
find a calmer atmosphere, less turnover, and more attention
to productivity, growth, and profitability.

Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt
Publishing, a top 50 woman-owned and run business in Los
Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A
Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John
Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of businesses
with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business
Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook.
See for more information.

This article was submitted by - Jan B. King Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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