Hiring a highly talented employee seems like a dream come true, but when the employee comes with baggage such as toxic behavior, it an easily become a nightmare. Oftentimes, toxic employees do not show their true colors until months later on the job when they start to display unprofessional attitudes, negative behaviors, immaturity, divisiveness, and create major conflict within the team. They may refuse to play well with others and be rude to customers, causing havoc for the company. Toxic employees present management problems far beyond the average disciplinary measures taken. Allowing this to go on is detrimental to your business and the well-being of other employees.
If you’ve identified a toxic employee on your team, there are several things you can do now.
Address the Problem Head-On
It is not fair to your other employees to have to tolerate a toxic employee. Sometimes, a toxic employee may not even be aware of his or her behavior. Therefore it is up to you as their manager to take them aside and work with the human resource department to retrain them and discuss the positives of changing their behavior. Place the employee under a 30-day disciplinary observation and coach the employee on more productive behaviors in the workplace.
Reassign the Employee
Toxic behaviors can stem from personality conflicts with other co-workers, so it can benefit all to move the offending employee away from others who have developed a negative relationship with the toxic employee. This is often seen in multicultural or multi-generational teams. Find out if there is another department or position that the toxic employee may be more suited for. Reassign the employee and continue to monitor the situation.
Let the Toxic Employee Go
If after coaching and a reassignment has failed, then it is the employee who has the real problem. Document the offending toxic behaviors — being specific as to what workplace rules or standards have been violated. Discuss this with the employee and have him or her sign off as understanding. Terminate the employee and replace them with a more suitable worker.
It may be a shame when a highly talented employee has to leave a company because of toxic behavior, but it’s far more important to have a team that works well together and has respect as a core value. Never let a talented employee get the upper hand or catch on that he or she is more valuable than any other employee. This can help prevent toxic behaviors from developing in the first place.
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