It is said that the only thing worse than losing a good employee is
keeping a bad one. The good employees tend to find better
opportunities with ease even in a bad economy. However the
unmotivated employees seem to stay forever. It is to these remaining
employees we refer when we use the term “human remains”.
Human remains are those employees that you wish would leave –
but do not. Although we would love to get their resignations and
perhaps even dream about their absence from our organization, the
truth is they are very capable people. Even you agreed to their talent
at one time – because you hired them and let them stay after their
So why do we have “human remains” in almost every organization?
There are several reasons for human remains:
1. They are better suited for a different position than the one
In other words, they need a better job fit.
2. They do not feel appreciated by their supervisor.
Surveys show people leave people, not companies. However many
lack the motivation to seek another position within the company or at
another company so they stay in an unfulfilling job. It is beneficial for
a company with several “human remains” to do a multi-rater
feedback program to find out how to engage their employees to a
3. Their ideas have not been acted upon or appreciated.
They are now suffering burnout, biding their time until retirement or
until a new management team can see them for their talent.
It is beneficial for any organization to recognize their “human
remains” and work at reengaging them to the vision and goals of the
organization through creative methods. Problem people can be
turned around with great results.
In the book Life's Leadership Lessons, there is a story about
Yvonne, an employee at a Kmart store located between Detroit and
Cleveland. She went from the person everyone hid from to the
person that people ran to for help. In the article “Why We Have So
Many Problem People in the Workplace” there is a clear picture of
how someone can go from “Human Remains” to “Employee of the
Use this term for developing skills in these areas:
A Bizerm™ is a new business term combining two
descriptive words into a single word or phrase whose
definition is often only known by those using it. To
see more terminology in the workplace, click here.
©2007, 2017 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA