Toxic employees can cause chaos in the workplace.

Finding and holding on to top employees is crucial. Eliminating team members who are toxic is integral to success.

Toxic employees can appear to be great team members. But, they can actually be undermining company operations, sometimes by participating in unethical or illegal behaviour. Clearly, the issues associated with these employees outweigh the benefits.

Regardless of how much you put to the candidate selection process, occasionally a toxic employee makes it through. It would be fantastic if the potential toxicity were easy to spot before they get hired, but it’s never that easy.

After a new employee starts, the red flags can show up. Once you start recognizing these issues, the employee must be mentored to ensure no damage is made to your company.

Below is a short list of ways you can spot a toxic employee.

A Toxic Employee Avoids Doing Work

Some people become masters of avoiding work and dodging responsibilities. They pass off work to others, cut corners and simply don’t do the little things they’re supposed to do.

In addition to not pulling their fair share, these toxic employees are a drain on those around them. Other employees have to pick up this person’s slack and watch them get away with being lazy on the job.

If an employee doesn’t seem motivated, doesn’t care about deadlines, is always wasting time and has a poor attendance record, you need to address the situation by asking about underlying problems. Setting clear expectations and demanding accountability will identify who isn’t keeping up.

A Toxic Employee Wants to be Better than Everyone Else

On the other hand, you don’t want an employee who insists on ‘martyring’ themselves for the company. It may be a breath of fresh air to have an employee who comes in 30 minutes early and leaves an hour late every day, their show of self-sacrifice can foster unrest and resentment.

If an employee insists on taking on more work than others, to the point that it undermines other employees, the situation should be addressed. You can do this by reinforcing the value of teamwork and collaboration.

Managers should also take steps to reduce competition among employees, eliminating the incentive for self-sacrificing behaviour.

A Toxic Employee Will Fight All the Time

Conflict in the workplace is pretty common and debate can be healthy for a company. When team members don’t get along because of personality, this leads to a major problem. Some people have a tendency to be combative and bullying at work.

As a leader you need to stop this immediately.

Managers must address any employee who appears to be constantly fighting or domineering over other workers. Document the negative behaviours before confronting this type of toxic employee and use this list to confront the person about their actions.

There is not place for hate in the workplace, and if actions become elevated contact human resources immediately.

The Employee Constantly Struggles

Sometimes, employees become toxic through no fault of their own. They simply found themselves in a job or at a company that doesn’t suit them. This situation is the easiest to address because the employee is likely looking for a way out of the situation.

A private, one-on-one meeting to address the situation is often the best way forward for everyone involved.

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