General Question

Mutable's avatar

One job for two employees. Which one would you retain?

Asked by Mutable (208 points ) February 21st, 2011

I have a decision to make… I have two employees that work for me and do basically the same job (accounting). Due to some special circumstances, I can only retain one. Employee #1 is an A+ employee as far as her job duties but she has a horrible attitude. She constantly talks behind my back, never says a positive word and always is critical of any decision I make. Employee #2 is probably rates a B at her job duties but she is a great team player with a great attitude. She always cooperates and gives me a 100% effort at all times. I can only retain one of them. Who would you retain?

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30 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Keep the team player.

Cruiser's avatar

This is a no brainer….#2. You can help them worker smarter/better and eventually get an “A” from you!

kitkat25's avatar

I would keep the one with the better attitude. You don’t need someone who is always unhappy and talking about you behind your back in your employ. If she is talking badly about you to your clients then that is not good for the business.

At least with the person who gives 100 percent you know you have a good hard worker and you can always talk to them about how they can improve on their work to bring it up to an A+. Since they are already a good worker I am sure they would appreciate any advice from you on how they can do even better.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I cast my vote for the team player.

augustlan's avatar

A negative attitude is very bad for morale, and can be contagious. I’d definitely keep #2.

gorillapaws's avatar

I would keep the smartest one, and work on improving her attitude. Companies gradually get stupider if you keep less qualified people around. They tend to hire people stupider than themselves and so on until the whole company is loaded with good-looking mediocracy “the bozo explosion”—and then it goes out of business. Is it possible that the criticisms are deserved? Are you performing as well as you could be? Is it possible that she’s talking bad about you behind your back because you’re not giving her an appropriate mechanism to field her concerns?

Here’s an excellent article about hiring.

sinscriven's avatar

B without a doubt. A may do marginally better work but she can’t work as a team player and she obviously can’t be trusted. That and you shouldn’t tolerate insubordination. She’s rather mouthy for someone who is easily replaceable.

janbb's avatar

No brainer – No. 2. You can upgrade someone’s skills more easily than getting them to really change their attitude.

ragingloli's avatar

I as well shall cast my vote for number 2.
Happy workers are productive workers.
Her positive attitude will also motivate her colleages to perform to the best of their abilites.
The other one would just poison the atmosphere of the workplace and reduce overall performance.

osullivanbr's avatar

Assuming a death match is out of the question I’d keep the second employee. A bad attitude is a terrible thing for any organisation.

Do give a death match some more consideration however

hug_of_war's avatar

It is almost impossible to change someone else’s attitude, and that can be poisonous in a team environment.

elia's avatar

Given the nature of the job, I’d definitely keep the A+ performer. I’m assuming, of course, the employee’s attitude problem isn’t affecting customers or hurting actual business in some other way. Curious as to whether the attitude thing is something reserved for you, or part of the employee’s general disposition?

meiosis's avatar

Keep number 1. One person’s bad attitude is another’s striving for excellence.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would probably keep #1 but be aware that this person will now complain that you let the other one go.

And be glad you are not a union shop or you would not be able to let either of them go!

Stefaniebby's avatar

I would choose #2. Although they may not be as good as #1 at their job they try their hardest and show their commitment to the job. A bad attitude at work can result in the individual bad talking your company and possibly making bad decisions when it comes to that. A person with a good attitude will appreciate the company and do what is best for the company.

WasCy's avatar

I’m with the group choosing the second employee. If she were only “average” or below, then I’d reconsider that. But your first employee sounds disinclined to stay for long, anyway,and if you keep her for now, then you’ll probably be replacing her before long (when she has to absorb the work of the one you let go).

submariner's avatar

Some points to consider, possibly:

Is job sharing out of the question? Is there any way you could keep both, but reduce their hours or pay?

Is seniority a relevant consideration?

Are you sure you’ve correctly assessed their characters? How do you know #1 is talking about you behind your back? Who is reporting this to you and why? Is it possible that #2 is not just mediocre but a brown-noser as well?

You said employees, not subordinates, so I assume you are a business owner and not a manager. If you were a manager, I would ask, which one will make your job easier and make you look good? But to a business owner I ask, which one will be best for your bottom line, all things considered?

forestGeek's avatar

Dump the attitude, in most cases having someone like that on staff is counter productive. Mean people suck!! Plus if #2 is a B, in most cases this person can work up to being a A with a bit of time and more training…a much better investment.

reijinni's avatar

#2. #1’s attitude might change with the change of scenery. It’ll improve everybody’s morale if #1 took her skills to a place that will make her happy.

Megan64's avatar

#2 For sure. Attitude is key.

lynfromnm's avatar

Life is too short to be miserable on the job. Keep #2 and find ways to challenge her to bring home an “A”. A raise? A bonus?

asmonet's avatar

#2 – Three of my friends just started and quit jobs after the first day in three different companies because the people were toxic. She’s had time to show you who she is, if she’s an adult, she may be set in her ways. Boot #1.

elia's avatar

Okay, I know it’s television, but… the writers behind the main character in the TV series “House” seem to be putting it out their that an employer will put up with a lot of attitude if it’s worth the results. Depending on the work, (in this case, accounting), someone with a bad attitude might be less of a headache than a well-meaning, but mistake-prone employee.

The examples of bad behavior—“She constantly talks behind my back, never says a positive word and always is critical of any decision I make.”—make me wonder if you’re hearing things second-hand?

janbb's avatar

Someone with a bad attitude is a soul-destroyer in a business. Toxic.

mrrich724's avatar

Employee B. If you had resources eventually, you could help B with their Accounting shortcomings.

It would be alot more difficult to “help” A with attitude and uncooperative behavior issue.

chyna's avatar

Employee one will bring down the other employees with that kind of attitude. I’d rather work with someone that has a great cheerful attitude. It would only be a matter of time before “miss bad attitude” would either quit or make another treasured employee leave because of the stress in the office.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t know enough about you as a new user to judge whether you think anyone who questions you is being critical, but I know that some managers don’t recognize the value in an employee who tests decisions for soundness and validity. The boss would rather have a second-rate yes-man than someone who genuinely cares about finding sound solutions to problems. If you test something well with all your questions beforehand, you can proceed with confidence instead of having to say later, “Gee, I wish we’d thought of that.”

Before making this decision (assuming it’s not a hypothetical question for homework in a management course), I would think carefully about whether showing appreciation for A’s analytical thought process mightn’t help A achieve a more positive view of things. Someone who just agrees with everything I say isn’t going to supplement my strengths with strengths of his or her own.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If #1 isn’t disruptive to the other employees then I’d keep that one. A sour disposition but consistent and good work matter more to me than a happy face, especially in accounting.

Nullo's avatar

Keep Employee B.

joannamc's avatar

It is difficult to say without knowing each of them better, but I agree that as long as #1’s attitude is not disruptive or has a negative affect on your business and relationship with clients, then I would keep her. This is work, not a social situation. You need a team which is proficient in their job not a bunch of people who like spending time together. She may be more positive than you think – if she is critical of decisions that you make then perhaps she keeps you on your toes and makes you think twice before you make those decisions. I believe that deep down inside you know that you want to keep her otherwise you would not be asking the question. She is not the obvious choice and I think that you want support for your decision to keep her. She is the stronger of the two. Good luck. It is not nice having to let anyone go.

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