Toxic employees - how to detoxify your corporate culture

Toxic employees - how to detoxify your corporate culture
  1. Who are toxic employees
  2. Why toxic employees are poison for every company
  3. Troubleshooting

Toxic employees poison your corporate culture - every day

Do you know the situation:

  • The mood and climate in the company have deteriorated.

  • Employees no longer go the "extra mile" and appear frustrated and unmotivated.

  • Energy and motivation are drawn from the veins of the employees like a vampire.

  • Customers, suppliers and other business partners feel the changed mood.

  • Some employees show their dissatisfaction and raise the issue. Others do not speak or speak only to colleagues.

Have you ever thought that toxic workers could be to blame?

Who are toxic employees

  • Toxic workers are people who create job dissatisfaction and transfer their behavior to others.

  • They infect others with their toxic and damaging behavior.

  • They are energy vampires and draw joy and life from the veins of others.

  • Toxic people demotivate, frustrate or harm their colleagues - consciously or unconsciously.

However, you should be careful not to label every “difficult” person in the company as toxic. Loners, introverted or extroverted employees or people with strong personal opinions are not automatically toxic.

Why toxic employees are poison for every company

We take care of high potentials and top performers. With talent management activities we bind important talents to the company. Unfortunately, too often, the focus is on employees who cause problems for the company and cause high costs - the so-called "toxic" employees.

They are often responsible for the fact that climate and culture in the company are noticeably adversely affected.

The consequences:

Some employees can no longer bear the poisoned work environment and can quit. Others don't want to quit, but they stop getting involved. Your performance curve drops steeply. This costs your company money, a lot of money:

  • Loss of important knowledge and skills

  • Replacement settings

  • Lower work performance

  • Reducing productivity

  • Less effectiveness

  • Less suggestions for improvement

  • Negative corporate image

The worst thing is, toxic employees love company. They love to draw others to their dark side. They infect others like a virus. If you want to strengthen employee loyalty, you must recognize and address toxic employees in your company at an early stage. Because your corporate culture is defined by employee behavior and relationships. Toxic behavior by individuals has a major impact on the culture and atmosphere in your company.


1. Have a personal conversation and give feedback

There are often solutions to problems with toxic employees if you recognize the appropriate behavior and treat it with the necessary importance. Always speak to people, give direct but appreciative and constructive feedback and find out the reasons for the behavior. Your first priority should be to stop the toxic behavior while keeping the employee. Often people are not aware of their own behavior and the effects on others. They are grateful for the feedback and will change their behavior.

But: behavior does not change overnight, it takes time. So stay tuned.

2. Offer help and support

Offer help and support to people. Show which behavior change is necessary and - if possible - find ways and possibilities together. Make sure that your messages really get through.

3. Make the consequences clear

Make the consequences clear if the behavior does not change. The employee could lose the familiar working environment or could no longer work in certain projects. This could also mean the loss of certain advantages or amenities. Or, in the worst case, the separation takes place and the employees lose their job.

4. Accept that some people don't change

At some point your patience should end and you have to accept that some people will never change. This does not mean that you give up and continue to allow toxic behavior. Rather, this realization means that you have to take more drastic measures - for example transfer or separation.

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