The realization of having a toxic employee on staff can be a crushing blow to anyone tasked with managing a team. We all know that hiring is an expensive and time-consuming process. Individuals and committees spend a significant amount of time with the goal of finding an excellent job candidate.
Focus on Your Team
Considering the time and money you and your workplace have already invested in the employee, the first thought might be how to “reform” or “rehabilitate” the individual. This might be completed through performance improvement plans, coaching or other one-on-one guidance. In some cases, this might work, but these efforts often fall short.
This singular focus on the problem employee ignores an especially key factor – the rest of your team.
Efforts made to “help” the under-performing employee, do not stop the spread of toxicity and as a result you may be inadvertently creating lasting damage to the team. A stat from INC found 54% of good employees are likely to quit when they collaborate with a toxic team member.
A toxic employee quickly creates an awful workplace for everyone around them. Overnight, workplaces shift from places of productivity to places teaming with a lack of trust, elevated levels of stress, and infighting among co-workers and peers. This is particularly true for those employees who used the pandemic as a time to reassess what they want and need from their job and workplace.
Signs of a Toxic Employee
- Regularly bully and harass others
- Place blame on others for their personal failures
- Other employees actively avoid collaborating with them
- Customers request another point of contact
- Display two-faced behavior – building up in public and tearing down in private
- Desire to cultivate drama
- Infect others with their bad attitude
Wave the White Flag
A toxic employee in the midst is the last thing any employer wants. This discovery may also include elements of self-blame. In these moments, it is important to talk to your team and show them you value their presence. Be clear that you are aware of the toxic employee and that they will no longer be allowed to further detract from the efforts of the team. Remember that being around a toxic employee is incredibly taxing on everyone involved, so do not let one bad apple spoil the talented team you have built.