This is an adaption of an article titled “The seductive energy thief” originally published by Templafy’s Chief Belongingness Officer, Anne-Marie Finch, in Børsen.

In today’s hybrid work world, employee energy is more valuable than ever before. Those that feel energized can do their best work and create an environment that encourages others to do the same. As the future of work continues to evolve, we’re seeing employers foster an energetic workforce by prioritizing soft skills in the hiring process – which also protects against energy thieves taking over.  

Energy thieves are individuals that don’t value the time of others. Instead, they prioritize their own wants and needs, distracting employees from valuable topics at hand. 

It can be almost impossible to identify an energy thief because it requires a true sense of self-awareness. Individuals get sucked into an energy thief’s orbit without realizing it, and in turn, their work falls victim.  

The detrimental impact of energy thieves 

Energy thieves monopolize any kind of work setting by centering topics around their own needs. These people build trust with individuals and then misuse it by derailing work with insignificant factors.  

Seductive energy thieves dazzle individuals away from being present, in turn removing their ability to stand up for their own needs and values. Because in the presence of an energy thief, one is quickly seduced by the energy thieves’ words. Before knowing it, they’re supporting the thief’s lack of integrity with recurrent actions. 

This significantly disrupts successful, efficient and enjoyable work within organizations by increasing drama throughout and creating added headaches.  

Three tips to lessen impact 

To break the cycle of energy thieves, people leaders must focus on rooting them out from the beginning and instead creating a culture centered around light.   

1. Fill your environment with “light” people 

A “light” person is someone who sees the good in all things. While these individuals can be excellent in scaling a psychologically safe culture of belongingness, they also can fall victim to energy thieves the fastest. However, when you create an environment filled with “light” people instead of thieves you make a true difference in company culture. Putting the energy thieves in check cultivates an environment and sense of security that fosters more innovation and cohesion among people who can become brilliant together.  

2. Prioritize “light” first, competencies second in recruitment 

To successfully encourage this workforce make-up the right recruitment process must take priority. When possible, recruitment and promotion pipelines should be screened based on an assessment of light and darkness in candidates’ personalities.  

Referrals from other light people is a great way to approach this compared to passive recruitment. Tactically being good at a job is worth nothing if you can’t bring energy and compassion to the table. 

3. Foster a culture of contribution and help individuals shine 

By prioritizing light and letting competencies be secondary, learning will take care of itself because there will be a culture of individuals naturally contributing and boosting others. Allowing teams to create magic together and generate energy throughout the organization. When this is the case an energy thief becomes even more apparent and easy to eradicate within an organization.  

Hiring and promoting precisely with light in mind scales a community of people who make everyone shine uncompromisingly and allows everyone to win in the future.   

To learn more about Templafy’s unique culture and philosophy, see our blog about belongingness and why we’re positioning this concept as the cornerstone of our culture across all our offices worldwide.