The Cost of Toxic Employees


The first thing to address is – what is a ‘toxic employee?  What kind of person fits this description?  Well to sum it up, a ‘toxic employee’ is a person who doesn’t fit your company culture, produces a low standard of work, takes more sick days than others and doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the team.  You know the kind of person we’re talking about, right!!

Their toxicity spreads like wildfire leading to high turnover rates, and a general vibe of unhappiness. Besides that, there’s the lost clients/customers and business opportunities.

So how damaging is this to your business?

Cost estimates vary from a small business to a large company.  Generally, statistics show that at a minimum it costs a small business $8000.  For a larger company, this can escalate into tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the damage this person causes.

The best time to avoid having toxic employees is at the interview stage. Using the following 3 strategies can help in not hiring someone who could cause catastrophic outcomes to your business.

  1. Ensure they fit your company culture

Observe their behaviour in the interview. How they behave towards others, say your receptionist and others they meet, can reveal a lot more about their character than any well-rehearsed answers they may provide.

  1. Ask interview questions that provide clues to their nature

More and more interviews these days involve behavioural questions to see how people behave in certain situations. It’s not enough anymore to merely find out what experience and skills people have.

So, ask questions that require answers that provide an insight into personal responsibility for their behaviour? For instance, do they always place blame on others like their previous boss or colleagues?

  1. Take sufficient time in the hiring procedure

References are an important area to check before hiring someone. Often companies in their haste to fill a vacant position, offer people jobs far too quickly without following up on referees. Just because the person gives you referees to call doesn’t mean that they will always praise that person. And if you ask specific questions, you may be surprised by the answers you receive.

Also, these days, with the internet, there are so many other ways to check on a person’s background and their interests.

The main thing is to take your time and not rush. Remember, making a bad hire will set you back in cost and the time in training them. It may mean that you don’t fill that vacant position as soon as you may like, but at the end of the day, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the person you’ve hired is the perfect addition to your team.

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