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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Staff brand colleagues as 'lazy'
Businessman takes a nap
"Dead wood" staff can be hard to work with
An overwhelming majority of bosses and employees think that some of their colleagues consistently underperform.

An Investors in People survey found 75% of bosses and 80% of staff thought some colleagues were "dead wood" - and the main reason was thought to be laziness.

Nearly half of employees added they worked closely with someone who they thought was lazy and not up to the job.

However, four out of ten workers said that their managers did nothing about colleagues not pulling their weight.

The cost of sacking someone can be colossal and damaging to team morale but sometimes it maybe the only choice
Nick Parfitt, Cubiks human resources

According to Investors in People, the problem of employees not doing their jobs properly seemed to be more prevalent in larger organisations.

The survey found that 84% of workers in organisations with more than 1,000 employees thought they had an underperforming colleague, compared with 50% in firms with fewer than 50 staff.

Tell tale signs

The survey identified the tell-tale signs of people not pulling their weight, according to both employers and employees, including:

  • Prioritising personal life over work
  • Refusing extra responsibility
  • Passing off colleagues' work as their own

Both employers and employees agreed that the major reason for someone failing in their job was sheer laziness.

"Dead wood" employees can have a stark effect on their colleagues' physical and mental well-being, the survey found.

Employees reported that they had to work longer hours to cover for shirking colleagues and felt undervalued as a result.

Ultimately, working alongside a lazy colleague could prompt workers to look for a new job the survey found.

But according to Nick Parfitt, spokesman for human resources firm Cubiks, an unproductive worker isn't necessarily lazy.

"It can be too easy to brand a colleague lazy," he said.

"They may have genuine personal problems or are being asked to do a job that they have not been given the training to do.

"The employer must look out for the warning signs of a worker becoming de-motivated - hold regular conversations and appraisals with staff."

However, Mr Parfitt added that ultimately lazy employees may have to be shown the door.

"The cost of sacking someone can be colossal and damaging to team morale but sometimes it maybe the only choice."

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