Does your company have hemorrhoids?

By Josh McAfee

Employee Retention Experience Teamwork Improving Company Culture LeadershipI want to talk about hemorrhoids. I know it sounds weird, but the reality is that every company has something or someone that’s a pain in the butt. It could be a person, process, or client. Who or what in your company comes to mind when I say hemorrhoid? 

These hemorrhoids have a significant negative impact on your company’s productivity, team morale, employee retention rates, and customer satisfaction. It’s an irritant and distraction that often grows to the point of costing you time, money, and resources. Bottom line is that it affects your bottom line. (pun intended)

I found such a hemorrhoid when our company experienced a tech crisis. After updates had been pushed by a software vendor, my staff noticed a major issue. This bug was going to significantly slow us down and negatively affect the clients we served. 

After submitting a support ticket, I reached out to our representative only to get an automated response saying she’d left the company. That email advised me to contact our interim rep, who happened to be the department manager. I immediately reached out to him instead. 

A day goes by with no response from him. I sent another email. 

Several hours later. Still no response. This time I called. 

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I was relieved when he picked up the phone, at first anyway. When I asked him for a status update, he gruffly told me to email support. I let him know we’d already done that, but hadn’t heard anything back and were hobbled until this bug could be fixed. 

“I’m busy. Call support.” No communication. No concern. No empathy. No way to treat a paying customer!

Our last rep had been a fantastic advocate, always keeping us up to date on how issues were being resolved. Naturally, I wondered where she had gone and why such a great employee had left. Reaching out to see where she’d landed, it came up in conversation that she’d left because of that hemorrhoid of a manager. That company lost a top performer AND a customer, all because of a pain in the butt employee. 

Sometimes these pains have been lurking for a while and remedies may not always seem obvious or worth the additional discomfort to solve. It’s helpful to look at it from an opportunity cost perspective. We’ve found that when a client has a position turn over, especially if it happens multiple times, there’s usually a reason why. Chances are that it’s not external factors. Identifying the irritation and applying the right treatment is key to the success and growth of your business. 

If the hemorrhoid is a team member…

I would strongly recommend having a conversation with that employee. They may not realize their actions or attitude is having a negative impact on their co-workers or the customers. It’s possible they feel like they’re trying to do their job as best they can, are overwhelmed with the workload, or have something personal going on. Give them the opportunity to share their struggles and needs. Then create a plan moving forward that can help soothe the pain and create win for both the team member and the company. Frankly, you showing a little bit of “give a damn” for them can go a long way. 

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Sometimes you’ll run into hemorrhoids that won’t be soothed. There will be people that are mean or hard to get along with by nature. They need to understand the impact of their actions from a business perspective. Set expectations and let them know that if their behavior can’t be corrected, then there will be tough decisions that will be made. 

If the hemorrhoid is a process or system…

Getting employee input and insight may be a good place to start. Your team members know what is slowing them down and would be ideally placed to suggest improvements. For example, many companies suffer from redundancy hemorrhoids. Outdated legacy systems stick around simply from habit and then newer systems get piled on top of them. That results in multiple systems that someone has to input the same data into several times. It gets frustrating and time consuming. Condense those processes wherever possible or find a way to replicate the data across systems automatically. Paying attention to redundancy and inefficiencies make your teams and employees feel like you’re paying attention to them, you care, and you have the desire to help them be successful. You can even empower a team member with coming up with solutions for the problem. 

If the hemorrhoid is a client…

I wish you luck in making those tough choices. That’s always a hard call to make. It can be beneficial to look at the full business impact. Weighing the resource cost, including employee productivity and turnover, should let you know if it’s time to consider parting ways with them. Unfortunately, not every customer is a good customer.  

Improving Company Culture Employee Retention Experience Workplace Business We find that companies that are investing in those corrections and applying their hemorrhoid ointment tend to have great hiring and retention success.   

Want to find great candidates that will help you grow your business without becoming a pain in the butt? Talk to the Humans Doing team today. 

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Josh McAfee is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Humans Doing. With over 26 years of recruiting and team-building experience, Josh has worked with startups, SMBs, and large companies to determine hiring needs, develop our recruiting strategies and processes, and connect top talent to fuel growth. In 2021, he became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author with his book Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss.

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Humans Doing is an expert team of highly skilled recruiters specializing in filling critical tech and leadership positions for growing companies. Our greatest measure of success is the success of our clients and the candidates we place with them. We help people make great hiring and career decisions. Our team is ready to partner with you to find the right people for the right roles.