The Antidote For A Toxic Employee

Dispute Resolution

Employment - 2 minutes read

Employment law in many countries provides a great deal of protection for employees. So what does an employer do with an employee who is causing issues within its business? How can employers avoid employing such people in the first place? And whose fault is it for the employee acting the way he/she does?

The BBC article (see link below) discusses the various studies taken which show that ‘toxic’ employees can cost business thousands upon thousands of pounds in revenue and productivity.

The conundrum is that actually, some of the time, toxic employees are those who are also the most productive. How then do employers neutralise the problem? In brief, the article offers the following pieces of advice:

Offer Feedback

US management expert, Bruce Tulgan says that meeting with the difficult employee to “make the behaviour explicit, and break it down, monitor and measure it, and offer course-correcter feedback” is a practical way of correcting the toxic behaviour.

Prevention is better than cure

The interview process is the first opportunity employers have  to weed out potential difficult employees.

Whilst most employers will do this at the interview stage, Gravity Media, a New York advertising company prefer to meet candidates for a drink at a local bar “in order to have a conversation, and see how they react to certain things.

Thinking outside the box

Other firms go that step further, and Canadian business Loyalty One is a perfect example. They ensure that all senior job applicants meet with psychologists.

A bit much…perhaps. Although Bryan Pearson, the firms chief executive, is of the view that psychologists are “able to identify where there might be risk factors when hiring an individual.

For more, check out the link below.

One 2015 report by Harvard Business School estimated that keeping a toxic worker on the payroll can cost an average firm more than $12,000 (£9,400) a year. This is more than double the £5,000 of increased annual productivity it says a good employee can provide.

A separate study said that the annual financial impact of a toxic employee could be even more onerous. The 2012 survey of 2,700 firms by jobs website Career Builder found that a quarter of respondents put the figure at more than $50,000, while 41% said the number was around $25,000.