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How to Conquer Toxic Workplaces

November 28th, 2017 · No Comments

According to Kenan-Flagler Business School, toxic workplaces costs U.S. employers $23.8 billion annually in the form of absenteeism, health care, lost productivity, and more.  The results of a survey conducted by Mitchell Kusy and Elizabeth Holloway show why this topic is important. Sixty-four percent of people were currently working with someone they considered toxic, and 94 percent said they had worked with someone toxic during the course of their career. Toxic workplaces drain employees and lower productivity. If these behaviors are not checked, the workplace can easily drift into hostile workplace environments that have very real legal implications.

Toxic workplaces can be caused by many things: gossip, bullying, micromanagement, and/or narcissism. Types of toxic behaviors include tearing others down, passive aggressive leadership, destructive gossip, devious politics, negativity, aggressiveness, narcissism, lack of credibility, passivity, disorganization, and the resistance to change. These behaviors can create a toxic workplace environment.

Human resource management is ultimately the people who are held responsible for establishing an environment free from toxic behaviors. So as a human resource manager, how do you fix it? The best way to stop the development of a toxic workplace is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Managers should use the selection process to identify people who are toxic. Managers should use approaches like self-assessments and 360-degree observer ratings to detect toxic behaviors. These approaches work better at identifying toxic behaviors than interviews or reference checks.

Although terminating an employment relationship is never a desired outcome, it may be necessary. Documenting behavior and incidents, counseling on the need to change behavior, and eventually firing the employee may be necessary to eliminate the toxic buildup.

If you are an employee in a toxic environment, go speak to HR.  They should be able to help you resolve the problem in an effective manner.  We spend a lot of time at our places of work.  It shouldn’t be uncomfortable!


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