How to spot a toxic employee

By now we’ve all either worked with or employed a toxic employee in some way or another. These kinds of people are not good to be around and can have a massive impact on the rest of the team including morale, productivity and creativity. Here are a few of the key traits you should be looking out for if you think you might have a toxic employee:-

• A toxic employee will tend to have a very negative attitude. They might be quick to anger or they might moan about everything, but staff like this are not good for the morale of the workforce. They will only end up bringing others down with them, so nip it in the bud if you see any of this going on in your work place!

• They like to gossip. These types of people tend to form groups and can cause conflict between staff members. They tend to divide people rather than bring them together as a team. Not a good quality to have to be honest – very unprofessional.

• They can be bullies. Bullies need to be taken very seriously at work. They can intimidate people and cause a lot of upset and anxiety. It can be really demoralising having somebody like this in a team, and can really affect the productivity of the team and staff well-being.

• They are selfish. They don’t give a damn about anybody else but themselves and they will step all over their colleagues to achieve results and to get praise (even if they don’t deserve it).

• They are fake. They might be all smiles in front of management, but a nasty piece of work as soon as their boss has left the room. They are not to be trusted and if they can do that to their boss, they’re probably doing it to their friends too!

So how do you handle people like this?

– Well firstly you deal with it as soon as it’s brought to your attention.

– Sit down with the employee in question and give them feedback on your thoughts (in a professional way – don’t get emotionally involved!).

– Document the meeting and set consequences if things don’t change.

– Work through the company’s processes and do everything correctly (you don’t want it to come back and bite you on the bum!)

– Review the situation again in a couple of weeks and set targets and boundaries.

– Remember to be calm at all times and try to understand why this person is behaving like this, for all you know there might be a valid reason!

But please don’t ignore it! Numerous studies have shown that toxic employees can cost a business money, due to the productivity of other workers plummeting, or people taking sick leave due to being unhappy at work. A report by Harvard Business School estimated that keeping a toxic worker on the payroll can cost an average firm more than £9,400 a year!