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Company Culture- The 4 types of employees that define it (2020)

Before we look at Company culture and the 4 types of employees that define it, let’s look at a very relevant quote in today’s times-

“Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy”
Howard Stevenson, Harvard Business School Professor

Now let us dive in to identify the 4 types of employees in almost every company.

Many of us will be able to relate to it- those employees who help an organization’s culture and those who hurt it!

Company culture- 4 types of employees

Plan of action to maintain a strong and rich company culture

Now we have looked at the Company culture and the 4 types of employees that define it, let’s learn 2 more important steps-

a. How to identify which employee falls in which group?
b. A plan of action for each group of employees.

Let us look at this in detail below-

  1. STARS

    Who are they and how to identify them?

    — They are the superstars of the company.
    — Are constantly recognized and appreciated by everyone.
    — Consistently demonstrate excellent performance and do things the ‘right way’.
    — Always ready to support and guide their peers and motivate them.
    — They are hard-working and uphold the values of the company.
    — Positively contribute to the overall company culture.
    — Will always be ready to experiment and take up new projects
    — In short, these are the most important employees for the company.

Plan of action for Stars

— Senior managers need to communicate with them more than any other type of employee
— They get bored soon if they don’t have sufficient new challenges in their work
— They will always bring new ideas to the table, so engage with them often
— Competition will almost certainly lure the Stars with better job offers.
— Show them a clear plan for their growth and it will not be difficult to retain them
— Train the best Stars for future leadership roles


Who are they and how to identify them?

— High potentials can be a little difficult to identify
— These employees have a positive behavior and attitude.
— Always keen to learn new things, are hard-working and behave well with their co-workers.
— However, they lack the skills, knowledge, and experience at their jobs or are new in their fields.
— They can be recognized with the questions they ask in meetings or group sessions.
— Curiosity is generally their prime virtue.
— Look for employees who have a lot of ambition and an urge to learn and grow.
— They are important employees because when trained and mentored properly, they have strong potential to become the future stars.

Plan of action for High potentials

— Once identified, put them in the teams which are led by Stars
— It will be an effective way for them to learn and upgrade their skills
— Send them to trainings on relevant subjects
— Involve them in organizing company events like annual dinners, festival celebrations, etc.
— A higher sense of belonging will increase their dedication
— Keep an eye on their performance- they are the future stars


Who are they and how to identify them?

— They are poor performers and have a casual/lazy attitude towards their work.
— Their behavior is not good and often have issues with co-workers related to their work.
— They hate change and prefer the conventional ways of doing things. These employees just work for their designated number of hours and go back home. They refrain from doing anything new or taking any type of risks.
— They are not ambitious and prefer to stick to their jobs as long as it’s stable. Their contribution to the company is often very minimal.
— Their credibility is quite low within the company, and hence their ability to do any cultural damage is very limited.

Plan of action for Zombies

— A lot of such employees have never worked under a good leader
— Additionally, some of them have never got a chance to learn work-related skills
— Once identified, put them under a Performance improvement program (PIP)
— A lot of them can be turned into High potentials and eventually Stars.
— Those who still don’t show potential, should be removed from the system.


Who are they and how to identify them?

— These employees are known for their high performance, but their behavior is very negative and toxic.
— Because of strong functional performance, they tend to acquire power and influence soon.
— They crave attention and will constantly praise their own work
— Since their behavior and attitude is harmful, they are the real bad apples that influence other people negatively.
— They are the actual threat to any company’s culture as they spread a lot of negativity among team members
— One way to identify them is their selfish and short-sighted approach to work.
— With such people on board, you are at the risk of reducing the performance of your entire team. A toxic employee literally sucks the life out of the company!
— Over time, they may also get followers like the Zombies.
— Before you realize there will be a small team of Vampires and Zombies who will attack the stars, high potentials, and other leaders who are doing the right things.

Plan of action for Vampires

— Managers and business owners always have the biggest dilemma for Vampires.
— They are high performers and hold critical positions in the company.
— Their negativity and toxicity are well known, but more often than not, they are ignored, because of their skills and the results they bring.
— However, an overly toxic employee will cost the company heavily in the long run. Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure these costs in the short term, hence managers fail to act.
— The company should terminate them immediately before they can do more harm

Reference: Harvard Business Review


What are the 4 types of employees that define a Company Culture?

The 4 types of employees that define any company culture are Stars, High potentials, Zombies, and Vampires. To maintain a strong and rich culture at any company today, it is important to learn how to identify and deal with each one of them.

We hope you liked the article. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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