Mediocre Employee #2- Does the Work, but Doesn’t Want To

The second type of mediocre employee is the one who does the bare minimum necessary to keep the job, is disengaged, or may have a bad attitude. Performance isn’t as much of a problem as morale is for this employee, instead of keeping spirits high, they bring the team down. With that being said this employee might be harder to fire. Thankfully there are ways to work with and manage them.

Does the Work, but Doesn’t Want To Bare Minimum

These employees meet the requirements, but don’t go above and beyond, ever. The New York Times questioned if this was okay, one employee feels it is, “There is nothing wrong with being an average (mediocre) employee. Not everyone aspires to be in management. […]Work is simply a means to get the money we need to pay the mortgage and our other bills. Work is a low-priority event for most people. I’m only willing to do the bare minimum that it takes to get a paycheck every two weeks. As long as I am meeting the requirements of my job, then that is good enough. Don’t expect any more of me because I will not be a slave to any company.” The author of the article goes on to say that of course, no one should be a slave to a company and not everyone needs the desire to be management, but he needs employees that want to be there and that are willing to do what it takes to get things done. I think most managers would agree.

JosephGrenny from Crucial Skills offers another solution, or rather, better defines the problem. He suggests that the issue is not in fact the employee doing the bare minimum, but the low expectations and mediocre norms of your company or team. “If your team was crystal clear on high-performance expectations, mediocrity would be painfully apparent and you wouldn’t have to make a tough call when it came time to counsel or terminate.” So if your employees are doing the bare minimum, but it’s not enough, your minimum is also not enough and maybe your expectations are too low. Make sure your requirements and expectations are clear and hire for fit along with skills to combat the bare minimum employee.


Employee engagement was all the hype last year, and for good reason, “[…] These employees show up to work every day and give you the minimum effort to stay afloat. Some eventually leave, taking with them their knowledge, experience, and on-the-job training. We call these employees ‘the disengaged.’ A study shows that disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses $11 billion annually.” The positive thing about disengaged employees is that they can be re-engaged. If you give them more autonomy, training or even technology these employees can be engaged. “Keep in mind that without quality employees and effective management, engagement will be lacking. In the workplace specifically, technological tools have the potential to aid in empowering, engaging and retaining quality employees.”

Bad Attitude

The employees with a bad attitude, these are the worst of mediocre employees. These employees get their work done, and it’s satisfactory or maybe even good, but they do it with a scowl and a complaint. “Every workplace has negative people who erode morale. They’re not always easy to pick out of a crowd, but they can do an amazing amount of damage over time. Most of the time, these folks don’t make the big mistakes that call attention to themselves. They’re frequently pretty good at their jobs, so they’re not called on the carpet too often. But like a virus running in the background of a computer program, their acidic personalities eat away at the goals – and ultimately the bottom line – of the company week after week, year after year.”

Mediocre employees are just that mediocre, but we live in a world where there are millions of great employees looking for their next role. Don’t settle for average employees. If you need help with recruiting top talent call me today.


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