Terminating an employee is not something any manager enjoys doing, but sometimes losing a team member can benefit the company. We all have seen those employees that everyone avoids interaction with, no one trusts them, they have giant egos that have led them to feel entitled, and they don’t want to be a team player. The biggest danger of a toxic employee is their ability to poison the rest of the team. Management must make the decision to terminate toxic employees before they infect the other employees and tear apart the business.
Harvard Business conducted a study on what they call “toxic employees”, “a worker that engages in behavior that is harmful to an organization, including either its property or people.” These employees can negatively impact organizational costs, diminish employee morale, increase employee turnover, and even disturb external stakeholders. One of their better traits, however, is that toxic employees tend to be more productive than the average worker. This trait explains how toxic employees remain in an organization for so long.
Unfortunately, negatives tend to outweigh positives, and that includes the impact of employees. You may have several employees that are all pleasant, great team players, but throw one bad apple in there and you can spoil the whole bunch. If a business is struggling with communication with their employees, a toxic employee will encourage discontent among other employees. Management teams need to have open communication with their team members to know their needs and monitor their attitudes.
The difficulty is dealing with a toxic employee who is a productive worker. If they are completing their assignments and excelling at their work, terminating them becomes difficult. Managers must weigh the situation and determine whether the productivity of the employee outweighs the toxicity. If the answer is no, then the employee must be terminated.
Interaction with a toxic employee can be very tense, so remaining calm is always best when dealing with a toxic employee. Just like dealing with a child who is throwing a temper tantrum, if you are tense you will escalate the situation, so remain calm and control the situation without raising tensions.
Expectations are imperative when dealing with employees. Be direct and clearly lay out your expectations for all your employees, including their interactions with others. Make sure all employees are aware of the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative. This gives you the ability to directly address the actions the employee has taken that do not coincide with that of the organization. A manager now has the direct language to be used when terminating an employee, “I’m sorry, but our expectations and your expectations do not coincide, we no longer need your services.”
For more assistance in Human Resources and dealing with toxic employees, contact Genesis Medical Management today.