Toxic staff can ruin the atmosphere of a workplace, drive down morale & productivity and make other workers not want to come in.
Not only that, difficult employees can cost the average business more than £9,400 per year, mostly due to loss of co-workers who can no longer tolerate the atmosphere, a recent report from Harvard Business School found.
So, how should co-workers and employers best deal with someone that causes stress?
One method is to avoid hiring toxic employees in the first place, however, that is easier said than done. David Williams, CEO of software company, Fishbowl, proposes a solution at the interview process. As reported in The Telegraph, Williams screens candidates for what he calls “the seven non-negotiable qualities to prevent a bad hire”. These consist of respect, belief, loyalty, commitment, trust, courage and gratitude.
He suggests these qualities should be valued even more than a candidate’s skills or background, and asks candidates to provide specific examples of these qualities during the interview. He also sources references himself, rather than asking candidates to provide them, and seeks former colleagues who’ve worked directly with candidates for some time.
According to Sarah Trota, an independent HR expert, the next step is to create a working atmosphere that discourages toxic behaviour. She stresses the importance of good communication, which takes form in having a trusted HR manager, regular employee surveys and forums where workers are encouraged to express their views constructively. Companies must provide evidence that they take positive action in response to feedback.
But, what if a company takes these precautions but still finds themselves with a hazardous individual?
Bruce Tulgan, author of The 27 Challenges Managers Face, says that managers should meet with the toxic employee and point out their behaviours in quantifiable terms. Following a discussion, they need to monitor these behaviours and meet regularly with the individual to provide honest feedback. If this method is not successful, managers have then built a case proving that the employee has been unable to fulfil the terms of their employment.
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Link to article on this issue on HR grapevine: https://www.hrgrapevine.com/content/article/news-2017-03-06-how-to-deal-with-toxic-employees