One of the main challenges of every SME that is growing is to try and maintain a good work environment as the number of employees increases. It is not a simple task, so it is usual that, from time to time, conflictive or 'toxic' workers appear that can pose a real problem for the internal operation of your business.
In fact, according to the Cornerstone study 'Toxic Employees in the Workplace', a troubled worker can cost more than €12,000 a year to your company - mainly because of the productivity problems that this type of worker generates which might even make part of your work team to quit the company altogether.
You might jump the gun and dismiss a toxic worker but dismissal should be the last option you contemplate in this matter. We offer a few ideas that you can use to manage these types of workers first.
Detect the conflicting worker
Although it is usually quite obvious, it is sometimes not so easy to identify the worker who creates a bad work environment. Especially if you are not in regular contact with the people who work with this conflicting person. Therefore, the first step is to be clear on who is this 'toxic' individual and for this, we can look at the following details:
- They always complain and do not provide solutions.
- They often have punctuality issues.
- They makes excuses when their work or performance is not as expected.
- They maintain a passive attitude and lack initiative.
- Their body expressions are negative.
- They spreads their pessimism to the rest of their coworkers.
Try to get all versions of the story
When there is a conflict in a working environment there is rarely a single version of the facts. So when it comes to managing a conflicting worker, it is first important to know all the facts and circumstances surrounding their behavior. This is not to say that their behavior is justified, but it may offer us a clue as to why a worker has become 'toxic'.
What if their complaints are because there are no ways to channel their suggestions in any another way? What if their poor performance is due to a work overload? These are questions whose answer we should know to prevent the appearance of other conflicting workers in the future.
Remember, knowing the legitimate motives, if any, is the first step to remedy the situation and rectify the behavior of this worker.
Arrange a private chat as soon as possible
Once you have all the information it is time to sit down and chat with your employee. Let them know exactly what the problem is and, of course, make it clear that it is a situation that cannot run for a prolonged period.
Depending on the degree of conflict that has reached with this person, the talk may serve to convey a verbal or written warning. This first notice can help the worker rethink their behavior and attitude, as well as serve as backup in case you have to take more drastic measures, such as dismissal.
However, during this talk the worker must also see that you are interested in knowing his version of the facts. Let them explain their position. This way you can let them know that we really want you to continue in the company, but not in the present way.
Keep in touch with the worker in the following weeks
One of the keys to trying to manage these types of workers is to see that we are concerned about their behavior and that this talk was not just a touch of perfunctory attention, rather from that moment onwards we will be attentive to their behavior and attitude.
Obviously, this does not mean that we should monitor this worker and review each of their tasks. You should, for example, occasionally asking about the progress of their work or ask them about their ideas and suggestions on a particular company matter.
If all else fails
Unfortunately, sometimes there are workers who have entered a very negative dynamic that they cannot ‘roll-back’ from. If every managerial method fails and there is no remedy, then dismissal is the only solution practicable