How to Deal with a Toxic Employee

Toxic behavior in the workplace can affect employee morale and your bottom line

Posted by Timothy Dimoff in on June 13th, 2017

Is your workplace toxic? Would you call it…hostile?

Do you have employees or managers who are negatively affecting employee morale?

And, most importantly, do you know how much a toxic workplace impacts your business and what steps you can take to correct it?

 

Implications of a Toxic Workplace

A good, positive company culture is founded on mutual respect.

Having a toxic workplace can undermine the best HR efforts and cause many other issues including:

  • Low employee morale
  • Frequent employee turnover
  • Fear or dread of coming to work

All of these can negatively impact your bottom line as well.

 

Identifying Toxic Behaviors

Look out for employees who refuse to take on new responsibilities because they think it’s not their job
There are ways to identify and prevent toxic behaviors among your employees and your management.

Toxic workers often display specific traits which are warning signs that need to be heeded.

These traits can include:

  • Being overly critical of others
  • Bullying in all its forms
  • Hostile behavior
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Gossiping

and more.

Is your toxic employee harassing co-workers? Download the free Workplace Harassment cheat sheet to find out what to do about it.

Be on the lookout for employees who:

  • Are always grumpy or nasty to others
  • Say “yes” but don’t appear to be actually engaged in the task
  • Procrastinate
  • Refuse to take on new responsibilities because they think it’s not their job
  • Think they can do it better than anyone else
  • Make excuses (for being late, for not finishing a project, etc.)
  • Appear overly dedicated to their job, such as working excessively long hours

While on the surface, some of these behaviors may appear to be positive traits, they can actually be instilling negative, toxic energy into your workplace.

 

How to Fix Toxic Behavior

Create a healthy work environment and it will contribute to a more successful business overall.
Toxic employees can affect your entire team and your entire business.

There are some steps you can take to remedy the situation.

 

First, Talk With the Employee

Find out what is causing the specific behavior.

Are they having issues with a co-worker, issues at home, financial issues, etc.?

 

Second, Clearly Tell Them to Stop

Be very clear about telling them to stop the negative behavior such as gossiping or bullying.

Let them know what the expected behavior is and make sure they understand it.

 

Third, Revisit the Situation

Set a time to sit down and revisit the situation in the near future.

Tell them that you will re-evaluate their changed behaviors at this time.

Let them know that their pay and even their job will depend upon the improvements you see.


Timothy Dimoff
Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.

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