By: Julie Nelson
Although finding and holding on to top employees is crucial, eliminating toxic ones is even more integral.
Toxic employees can appear to be great team members, but are actually undermining company operations, sometimes by participating in unethical or illegal behavior. Clearly, the issues associated with these employees outweigh the benefits.
Sadly, regardless of how much you put to the candidate selection process, occasionally a toxic employee makes it through. It would be fantastic if potential toxic employees were easy to spot before they get hired, but that’s not how it works. Instead, you sometimes need to figure it out before significant damage can be done to your company.
Below is a short list of ways you can spot a toxic employee.
They Avoid Doing Work
Some people become masters of avoiding work and dodging responsibilities. They pass off work to others, cut corners and simply don’t do the little things they’re supposed to do.
In addition to not pulling their fair share, these toxic employees are a drain on those around them. Other employees have to pick up this person’s slack and watch them get away with being lazy on the job.
If an employee doesn’t seem motivated, doesn’t care about deadlines, is always wasting time and has a poor attendance record, you need to address the situation by asking about underlying problems, setting clear expectations and demanding accountability.
They Do All the Work
On the flip side, you don’t want an employee who insists on ‘martyring’ themselves for the company. While it might seem nice to have an employee who comes in 30 minutes early and leaves an hour late every day, their show of self-sacrifice can foster unrest and resentment.
If an employee insists on taking on more work than others, to the point that it undermines other employees, the situation should be addressed by reinforcing the value of teamwork and collaboration. Managers should also take steps to reduce competition among employees, eliminating the incentive for self-sacrificing behavior.
They Fight All the Time
Conflict in the workplace is pretty common and debate can be healthy for a company. However, interpersonal conflicts based in personality should be avoided as much as possible. Sadly, some people have a tendency to be combative and bullying at work.
Managers must address any employee who appears to be constantly fighting and domineering over other workers. Document the negative behaviors before confronting this type of toxic employee and use this list to confront the person about their actions.
They Are Constantly Struggling
Sometimes, employees become toxic through no fault of their own. They simply found themselves in a job or at a company that doesn’t suit them. This situation is the easiest to address because the employee is likely looking for a way out of the situation.
A private, one-on-one meeting to address the situation is often the best way forward for everyone involved.
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