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 they have.
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 higher degree.
3. Their ideas have not been acted upon or
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 Year”.
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
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