March 28, 2018

Vampires vs Saints – the Battle for your Corporate Culture

Have you ever felt things are not quite right in your workplace? You’re hearing that some people are making negative comments about management; your people aren’t being productive and to make things worse, you’ve lost some really good team members lately.

It could be that you’ve got some vampires in your midst. Vampires? In my company? Unlikely, but well… really?

Let me explain. You’ve probably walked past them without knowing. Just like Dracula’s vampires, they have the ability to mutate and transform depending on circumstances. These are individuals who appear to be productive, who appear to be supporting management, but as soon as management disappears, they start to criticize the company. They back-stab management, and spread gossip and rumours throughout the workplace. Their performance is at best average, but often they’re just killing time, and productivity.

We’ve all encountered these individuals in our careers. Sadly, they’re the kind of people that management knows about, but often doesn’t act in a timely way.

Apart from disrupting and corrupting the workplace, they also wage battle against your saints. Your saints are individuals who model the best in values and behaviours. They work extra hours. They rally people around them. They’re twice as productive as other staff. They support the organization and they live your values. They’re also highly marketable. The common theme with saints is that you wish you had a million of them.

Tragically, in the battle between the vampires and saints, if management doesn’t act, the vampires will turn the atmosphere into an unpleasant experience. They make it difficult for the saints to perform. Guess what? The saints begin to question their own work ethic. Why should I bother to make the extra effort? The saints, who believe in the goodness of management and your mission statement, will become discouraged, disengaged and may eventually leave. Or worse, they stay and give up making the extra effort. Now you’ve created a zombie.

Over time, the consequences are profound. The atmosphere continues to deteriorate. Productivity slips. Staff loose trust and confidence in management. It takes more effort to get things done. Management has to mediate an increasing number of petty employee disputes. People begin to seriously question the corporate values posted in that elegant frame in the front lobby.

Every story has an ending. Eventually, management will vanquish the vampires, through termination or moving them somewhere else (heaven forbid). Now they not only have to replace the vampire, but they have to also replace the saint. Average candidates are hard to find in today’s market, but Saints are even harder. They are truly rare and special. Using the Rule of Three (it costs three times an annual salary to hire, replace and bring a new employee up to full potential), it will ultimately cost the company the equivalent of six times the annual salaries to get back to full productivity. And that doesn’t count the impact on all their co-workers who have been witnesses to all this.

These sound like extreme examples, but sadly, I’ve seen and experienced it time and time again in many organizations. The size or level of organizational sophistication doesn’t guarantee a silver bullet against vampires. So what’s to be done?

For more information, watch my video for more guidance and then visit for additional insights and tips. If that doesn’t help, feel free to give me a call at 519-362-8352. Increased employee engagement, productivity and profitability are close at hand. I promise – no garlic or wooden stakes are required.


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