four main types of employees

While having different perspectives in the workplace is essential, maintaining a positive culture where everyone is working towards the same goal is crucial. There are four main types of employees: The Cynic, The Contributor, The Committed, and The Champion.

Overall, having passionate and optimistic employees about their work goes a long way in contributing to a healthy and prosperous company culture. Managers need to recognize when certain employees are not aligning with their values and goals and make tough decisions for the betterment of everyone involved.

The Four Main Types of Employees

When it comes to building a solid and productive workforce, the commitment level of each employee plays a crucial role. While some employees may show unwavering dedication toward their work and the company’s mission, others may lack that same level of enthusiasm. As an employer, it is essential to distinguish between these different employee types to determine which ones should be let go.

When it comes to letting an employee go, it’s important to do so with respect and dignity. Learn how to Respectively Let an Employee Go here. 

The Cynic


  • Pessimistic attitude towards work.
  • Often doubt the company’s goals and objectives.
  • Skeptical of their colleagues and management
  • More self-reliant than their counterparts


  • Can demotivate other employees.
  • Their constant criticism can also create a toxic work environment that affects team morale and productivity.
  • Lack of enthusiasm when it comes to teamwork and collaboration

Should they stay or go?

Cynics have a tendency towards solo projects rather than group efforts. While this can make them seem disengaged from the team dynamic, it’s important to recognize that their independence can actually benefit the company in certain situations.

Keeping a cynic employee on board may be tempting because they are highly skilled or have been with the company for a long time, but their negative attitude can do more harm than good in the long run. Managers should address their behavior through constructive feedback and coaching, but if there are no improvements, let them go.

The Contributor


  • Typically meet their job description expectations but stay within them.
  • They complete tasks on time and with satisfactory results
  • Blend in with the crowd but they are essential to running operations smoothly.


  • Do not go above and beyond to improve processes or suggest innovative ideas.
  • Do not stand out as top performers

Should they stay or go?

Contributors fall into a gray area when deciding which employee types should be let go. While they may not be top performers or star players, they do not cause significant issues or negative impacts on the company. In some cases, letting go of contributors could result in losing valuable knowledge and experience that can take time to replace.

Ultimately, the decision to let go of a contributor should depend on other factors, such as financial constraints or restructuring efforts, rather than solely based on performance evaluations. Companies should consider reassigning contributors to roles where their skills can be better utilized before considering termination.

The Committed


  • Shows up on time every day
  • Completes tasks efficiently
  • Actively seeks new ways to contribute.
  • Dedicated to their job
  • Takes pride in their work
  • Maintains a positive attitude towards colleagues and management


  • They may become burnt out or overworked
  • Constant need for perfection
  • Overly dedicated to their work
  • Struggle with delegations or asking for help
  • May become too comfortable in their role and resist change or new ideas

Should they stay or go?

While the committed type of employee can be highly valuable, it’s important for employers to recognize potential issues and take steps towards preventing burnout and encouraging open communication within the workplace.

The Champion


  • Excel in their roles
  • Exceed expectations
  • Bring value to the company
  • Seen as top performers
  • Go above and beyond to achieve their goals
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong work ethic
  • Willing to take on new challenges
  • Inspire others around them to do better and contribute to a positive work culture.


  • Competitive nature and drive to succeed
  • Overly focused on winning at all costs
  • May struggle with teamwork since they are so fixated on their own success
  • Difficult to manage if not given enough opportunities for growth and advancement

Should they stay or go?

They can help drive innovation, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction. Their high energy levels and ambition need to be channeled effectively, or else they may become bored or disengaged. Finally, Champions can sometimes be so results-driven that they overlook the importance of building strong relationships with clients or colleagues, which could harm the organization’s reputation in the long run.

Behavioral assessments are becoming increasingly popular in the business world as more and more companies realize their importance in enhancing employee performance. Find out more about Why Behavioral Assessments are So Important.

Understanding the four main types of employees can lead to better collaboration and productivity within a team. It allows managers to identify strengths in each individual while also recognizing areas for improvement. Ultimately this will lead to a more efficient operation with happier employees who feel appreciated for their contributions.

About the Author Ben Shaver

For over a decade, I've guided growing dental practices and groups on how to use leadership and communication to build referable teams and memorable brands.

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