How to spot toxic employees from entering your company (Trust me, you really need to know this)

March 11, 2019 11:37 am

Published by

What’s your experience like with toxicity in your company? How do you determine that they are toxic?

Backstabbing? Checked.

Zero trusts among each other? Checked.

Lack of mutual respect among colleagues? Checked.

Office Politics? Checked.

Office bullying? Checked.

Being in the workforce for quite some time, I have seen them all. What about you?

Toxic employees resemble a poison that is killing the culture of an organization gradually.  Imagine that you, as an owner of an organisation or a human resource professional, has such a poison in your organisation. What’s worse? You failed to spot toxic employees before they entered your company, and as a result, they caused low productivity, reduced engagement, and high staff turnover. Here’s some (yes, it is not all) remedy for you to spot toxic employees, eliminate pessimism, and build a blossoming work atmosphere.

Before we look into the remedy, we need to know how such toxicity can kill a Company

Toxic Employees frequently fashion office politics when none is existing 

Backstabbing, gossiping about the rest and even those in authority are forms of toxicity. Such behavior will soon develop into work environment politics whereby different stories are spun, and office politics. In the long run, these will affect the general productivity of the workforce negatively.

Brand reputation of the organisation is at stake

People are the greatest asset of an organsiation. Imagine, with the addition of a toxic mid-level-executive in the company who backstabs his/her way up the corporate ladder, and the turnover rate of his/her co-worker gradually increases. How would people actually view this organisation? What do job seekers feel when they see a job advert for a particular position in the company has been posted, removed and reposted again after a few months?

Toxicity kills profitability 

The entire workforce in addition to support and backend must work as a team to increase the revenue of an organisation. A toxic employee’s impact is felt greatly if he is a front-end personnel. Regular backbiting and being negative concerning the organization and its products will influence customer behavior, which will eventually affect profitability.

Oh no, how do I spot a toxic employee then?

The fact is that if you happen to work with a toxic employee, chances are that you will know. Generally, toxic employees are defensive or hostile to colleagues, opposes change or development, and reluctant to be accountable for mistakes. They may be obvious bullies, or they may just be bitching about you behind your back.

Nevertheless, the outcome is the same, regardless of the ways they conduct manifests. A peaceful and efficient work environment and its culture will turn out to naught – inefficient and lack enthusiasm.

Here comes the remedies

#1 Screen candidates for toxic behavior before hiring

It is the duty of any company to screen applicants for possible toxic behavior, in order to avert contamination. Despite the fact that most of these candidates may exhibit their good sides in the course of the interview, there are several questions you can ask to aid in identifying the degree of toxicity.

Rather than engaging candidates in hypothetical questions, ask them about their previous experiences! For example, ask for particular instances of how they have actually resolved conflicts in the past, instead of asking a candidate how he would handle a difference of opinion with a colleague.

Keep in mind that lots of candidates, particularly the experienced ones, attend interviews with many answers and responses to whatever question you may want to ask them. Therefore, do not wait for an overtly trite or rehearsed response when you ask a question. You can ask for numerous examples of the way such candidates have handled diverse dynamics and personalities in the place of work.

Try to ask candidates the following questions:

– Talk about certain times or occasions when you found working with a co-worker hard. How did you manage the situation?

– What would you likely change about your former employment?

– Share an occasion whereby you needed to deal with stress at work. How did you manage the situation?

– What would your previous employers say about you? Mention a few negatives and positives.

– Can you tell us your major professional success so far? How did you accomplish it?

Alternatively, outsourcing could also be a solution to this too. With outsourcing like Recruitment Process Outsourcing, candidates are normally filtered before the profile is shared with the employer!

#2 Continuous 2-way feedback with employees

On many occasions, employees do not know that they are being toxic; making it more critical for managers to watch out for toxic behavior as soon as it occurs and deals with it among employees instantly.

Regular positive and constructive feedback gives room for communication between the manager and the workforce. This will let the managers identify if toxic behavior is an isolated occurrence associated with personal problems or otherwise.

In addition, continuous feedback is an opportunity for employees to change their toxic behavior.

#3 – Implement a 360° Appraisal System

This is the best way to spot toxic employees and other irregularities! If the management team of any organization wants to sift out toxic employees, this is the system which should be implemented. With such a system, peers will be able to feedback on their peers and managers by rating them on their skills and overall working habits. With the feedback, management will then be able to spot signs of toxic behavior.

Despite the fact that the 360° peer reviews can be beleaguered by subjective views and frequently don’t happen as often as they should, they are considered pretty steadfast in their propensity to disclose trends. This system will prevent toxic behavior among employees.

“Toxic people will only do one thing: Drag you down. So, cut them loose.”

By and large, there is nothing like an ideal or perfect work environment. Different types of individuals and increased work pressures will always cause a series of toxic occurrences. Realizing the huge costs associated while giving room for toxic behavior in your organization and curbing this behavior is of great importance. Find the remedy that best fits your organisation today!


Payboy is a highly versatile and mobile Human Resources Management System that gets things done anywhere, anytime. We offer integrated solutions that will help you spot toxic employees and also manage your employees’ lifecycle. Check out our Recruitment Process Outsourcing Service which gives you only the best candidates today!  

Related Post

8 Essential Points for Business Setup in Singapore Over the last 50 years Singapore has undergone one of the most radical transformations the world has ever seen in history, in terms of economical and ...
Why HR needs to go digital to stay relevant Anand Shankar, senior partner for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Aon Hewitt, shares his thoughts on the digital revolution and what HR can do...
An experienced store manager reveals the 3 shortcu... Walking into the office on a bright Monday morning, surrounded by the smell of fumes coming out from the exhaust of vehicles conveniently lined on...
What Are The 8 Most Common Pain Points Faced in Pa... Payroll management is one of the most dreaded jobs for a HR employee. It is time-consuming, burdensome, and very seemingly a dispensable task. Most h...
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This post was written by Payboy