Leaders strive to hire the best employees. But occasionally, we make the wrong decision and an employee doesn’t perform the way we expected. What’s important to understand in these instances is how bad employees can disrupt the rest of your team, and how you can identify and defend against it.
Harvard Business Review examined “the contagiousness of employee fraud.” The study specifically looked at financial advisors whose firms merged to track the rise in misconduct and determined that social interactions play a big role.
“We found that financial advisors are 37% more likely to commit misconduct if they encounter a new co-worker with a history of misconduct,” the article notes. “This result implies that misconduct has a social multiplier of 1.59 — meaning that, on average, each case of misconduct results in an additional 0.59 cases of misconduct through peer effects.”
Essentially, you begin to mirror the behavior of people around you. Newer employees will look to their more senior peers as they try to fit into the team, which can be problematic if they are known to break the rules or have a negative attitude.
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