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How to Deal With Toxic Employees

May 21, 2015

Negativity can spread quickly in the workplace, so identifying toxic employees right away can save a lot of trouble when it comes to overall employee morale. As the leader of a company it is your responsibility to put an end to the negativity no matter what it takes.

Essentially, trying to fix the problem without having to let anyone go is the best thing to do. Sometimes that is not possible though, and that is when more extreme actions need to be taken.

Non-stop complaining, constant non-constructive criticism, and gossip are some of the first signs of a toxic employee, so keeping an eye out for these issues with employees is the first step to putting a stop to workplace toxicity.

Another one of the first steps to putting an end to toxic employees is identifying them, and also understanding what is making them unhappy. Once you know these two things you can start working on creating a better work environment for all employees.

There are many reasons that it is important to take action immediately when it comes to toxic employees. It will not only affect company morale, it can also interfere with the toxic employees work, as well as the work of other employees that are in direct contact with them.

These things can also cause the toxicity to start spreading to other employees when it is not addressed immediately.

One of your best employees could still become a toxic employee. Some of the things that could cause this to happen can be problems at home, feeling unappreciated, overworked, and lack of recognition.

There are other factors that could create a toxic employee, but these are some of the main things that normally contribute to the toxicity.

Once you identify the toxic employee(s), you need to figure out what the root problem of the negative attitude is. One of the best ways to do this is to sit down and talk with the employee to try to understand why they are so unhappy.

It is important to speak to each employee individually if there is more than one of them that are toxic.

You should also sit down individually with other employees that are being affected by the negativity of the toxic employee. These people may also be able to give you more insight into why the employee in question is so negative.

Ask the toxic employee what is going on that is causing their frustration. It is also important to clearly explain your expectations of them, and also stress that they are important to the future of the company. Be sure to let them know that they are a valued employee and ask for their feedback on the current state of the work environment,

If the negativity is from something work related ask them how the issue can be resolved. If it is something from home causing the problems, see how you can help.

Reiterating how important they are to the company and offering some counseling resources to help on behalf of the company can be the answer.

Talking openly with the unhappy employee and offering assistance with help will clearly show them that you care about their well being, and that they are a valuable employee to the company.

In many cases you can find an acceptable resolution to correct the problem without having to let the toxic employee go. Just be transparent while talking to them, and make them comfortable so they can open up about the underlying root problem causing the negative attitude and behavior.

Positivity can spread through the workplace much like negativity, so helping a negative, toxic employee and getting them to be positive again can give all of your employees a nice morale boost.

It is important to always let all of your employees know that they are an important and essential part of the business.

Sometimes even little things are enough to show them you care, this could even be buying lunch, or holding a monthly meeting where you bring up something positive that each employee did over the previous month.

These things may not seem like a big deal, but they are to them, and being a good leader by doing little things for the employees will only make the workplace a nicer environment for everyone. 

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