Managing Toxic Employees

Despite their best efforts to prevent it, most businesses have staff members who might be considered toxic – whether by complaining, gossiping, being insubordinate or disrespectful – dental practices included. But what can a practice owner do to resolve any issues before they pollute the workplace?

Identify – First, identify the toxic behaviors being displayed and which employees are participating in them. They might use their skills to flatter coworkers in an effort to intimidate or manipulate them. Clever people who are toxic also know when to turn on the charm to impress others, especially those they report to.

Strategize – Second, know which strategy to use to curb the toxic behaviors. Consider putting new policies into effect to benefit each department, and then address the issue company-wide. Some ways to do this include weekly team meetings to go over expectations and performance values for each department, setting standards for how to deal with each other and clients, and establishing a performance appraisal system with regular one-on-one evaluations.

Discipline – Third, create a penalty system for offenders with progressive forms of discipline ultimately leading to termination. A word of caution, not all undesired behaviors can be corrected with the same approach, and even once bothersome employees are gone they may leave behind disgruntled coworkers upset to see them go.     

Prevent – Fourth, by developing a series of questions to identify toxic behaviors you can eliminate them before they infect your practice. Use specific questions during job interviews to identify potential hazards; conduct exit interviews with a similar line of questioning to help in deciding how to hire replacements for any employees you let go from your practice.

A toxic employee can affect your practice’s bottom line by conducting counter-productive work behaviors, thus causing chaos within the office and possibly spreading to the attitudes of coworkers. If you are in need of replacing staff members, I hope you reach out to me for help. I’d appreciate the opportunity to let you know how my team has earned a 93 percent success rate in presenting quality candidates within the first 90 days of recruiting.