Firing Cultural Vampire Employee, Immediately

May 15, 201511:22 am1369 views

Do you have a top performer who are able to deliver impressive results? Unfortunately, the best employee isn’t always using the best manner. Some of them were focused so intensely on “what they did” and paid little attention to “how they did it,” which resulted in consistently dismissing the opinions of others and pursuing what we felt was a strategy of “winning at any cost.”

Should we keep someone like this? Should we continue to support and reward him/her given his/her strong results, or should we cut him/her loose?

This dilemmatic problem can be answered by scientific classification system to identify the employees, according to Professor Howard Stevenson’s book  Howard’s Gift: Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work.

  • Stars are the employees we all love — the ones who “do the right thing” (i.e. perform well) the “right way” (i.e. in a manner that supports and builds the desired organisational culture).
  • High potentials are those whose behavior we value — who do things the right way but whose skills need further maturation or enhancement. With training, time, and support, these people are your future stars.
  • Zombies fail on both counts. Their behavior doesn’t align with the cultural aspirations of the organisation and their performance is mediocre. They are the proverbial dead wood. But their ability to inflict harm is mitigated by their lack of credibility. They don’t add much, but the cultural damage they do is limited (and, naturally, these are the employees most of us try to “flush out” of our organisations).
  • Vampires are the real threat. These employees perform well, but in a manner that is at cross-purposes with desired organisational culture. Because their functional performance is strong, they acquire power and influence. Over time, they also acquire followers: the zombies who are who share their different set of values and aspire to better performance. Soon, there’s a small army of vampires and zombies attacking the stars, high potentials and leaders who are doing the right thing.


Map all of the employees at your organisation. Now, the classification system helps you to know the employees who support the organisation’s culture and those who hurt it. If you find a cultural vampire, regardless of his functional performance, we had to terminate him.

See: You shouldn’t fire that employee who complained on Facebook

Source: HBR

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