My Top Producer Is Killing Morale

Dear Barb:

I have a top producer in my office who has worked for me for over 17 years. He represents over 30% of our revenue. He is causing major problems in my office.

He is negative, comes in late and has even brought other employees to tears. I can’t afford to lose him, but I dread coming in to my own office every day. I know I’m going to lose other employees if I don’t manage him, but I don’t know where to start. If he walks, I know he will take our clients with him.

Scott P. Sacramento, CA

Dear Scott:

I think most owners reading this have probably had a similar experience, me included. It’s important to realize that one person can’t make your business, but one can break it. You will lose respect and credibility with your team if you do not take action needed to properly manage your top producer.

This is the primary reason you need to protect yourself as an owner and always have two individuals on your team as contacts with all of your clients. If you lose someone, you still have another person who has a relationship with clients. As the owner, you need to build relationships with all key accounts in your business.

Currently, you have options you can consider:

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Option 1: You assign a second contact on all the clients your  company represents. You schedule a client visit if possible, with all key accounts.

Option 2: You can offer your top producer the opportunity to work remotely to separate him from your team.

Option 3:  You could meet with him and outline changes that need to be implemented immediately, understanding that he may quit.

What you can’t afford to do is leave things the way they are. This situation will result in turnover and will stunt the growth of your business.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


1 Comment on “My Top Producer Is Killing Morale

  1. Ms. Bruno,

    I’d suggest that second person be the agency/search firm owner or Operations Manager.

    Otherwise, whomever you assign to be a second contact person, who needs to have a reasonably strong relationship with the client, could be seen as a competitor or similar by the primary recruiter, especially if someone in the company takes a liking to that person and begins to issue that person search assignments.

    Also, respectfully saying, ‘outlining changes’ is not addressing the negative behavior with that old-time recruiter. Surely, that person had not been acting so negatively all along so something is going on with that person and it needs to be addressed.

    ‘Outlining changes’ is not the same as taking that person aside and finding out what is causing that person’s disruptive behavior.

    Also, having that person work remotely does not address the underlying issues of why s/he has been being a pill.

    More emphasis needs to be put on resolving this issue than ‘outlining changes’.

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