Toxic staff members can cost businesses millions

businessmans  in a gas maskAs thousands of people return from holidays, businesses need to be aware of toxic staff members who can disrupt the workplace, costing millions of dollars in lost productivity and recruitment costs.

Staff hiring expert Mike Irving said he had seen companies with millions of dollars in turnover go into insolvency because they were not able to detect toxic staff members.

“We call toxic staff members problem generators because that’s what they do, they create and attract problems,” said Mr Irving.

“This can have far-reaching consequences for other staff and the business as a whole,” he said.

“It can cost the business greatly from lost productivity and recruitment costs if the person needs to be replaced.”

“Most of the time these people don’t mean to cause harm, however some do have malicious intent.”

“One of the issues toxic staff members create is that they get you to solve problems that are not yours to solve in the first place.”

“For example, when problems are delegated in the workplace and they come back to you unsolved there are several possible reasons for this.”

“The person is either not capable of solving the problem or they are underperforming and creating problems, rather than solving them.”

“Staff need to be in touch with the energy creating their problems to avoid being a drag on the business and their colleagues.”

Mr Irving outlined several indicators for businesses to look out for in detecting toxic staff members:

  • Walking on eggshells: Moody people often cause others to avoid them so that they are not upset. This feels like walking on eggshells and means that others are buying into their problem and attempting to solve it for them.
  • Hitting the wall: It may seem like everything is going well in the workplace with decisions being created and made, then things are stopped in their tracks. A toxic staff member could be responsible for suddenly putting the handbrake on, halting operations.
  • Belittling: Toxic staff members can make others feel less important and often ‘put them down’.
  • Being overly nice: Toxic staff members can be very friendly and overly complimentary, which is not always genuine as it is then followed by asking for a favour.
  • ‘Catastrophising’: When a small problem is encountered, a toxic staff member may treat it as though it’s the end of the world.

Bestselling author of Hiring for Attitude and leadership expert Mark Murphy found that a staggering 46 per cent of newly hired employees failed within 18 months of being recruited, while only 19 per cent achieved unequivocal success.

“But contrary to popular belief, technical skills only account for 11 per cent of why new hires fail,” said Mr Murphy.

“It’s poor attitude that dominates the list – flaws which many of their managers admit were overlooked during the interview process,” he said.

Business owners and recruiters who want more information on avoiding recruiting toxic staff members can visit:

Mike Irving is a recruiter, business owner and leadership performance coach who has built teams as big as 65 in his own business. Mike offers unique and practical insights into all aspects of HR and recruitment processes.'

Founder, Advanced Business Abilities I Business Coach I Recruiting Systems I Sales Coach I Communication Training

One thought on “Toxic staff members can cost businesses millions

  1.'Melinda Lusmore

    Good points Mike! Being able to identify toxic people during the recruitment stage is one of the most valuable things any company can do.


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