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How to avoid hiring toxic employees

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Next time a potential job candidate boasts about his or her technical skills in the job interview, you might want to sit up.

Chances are, that candidate is likely to indulge in toxic behaviour in your office when hired.

That’s according to research from Cornerstone OnDemand, which looked at a dataset of 63,000 hired employees spanning 250,000 observations, and identified those who were terminated for reasons related to toxic behaviour.

The report found individuals who were notably over-confident about their technical proficiencies were 43% more likely to engage in toxic behaviour.

It defined “toxic behaviour” as involuntary termination due to policy violations such as workplace violence, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, falsification of documents, and fraud.

The report added another way to identify potentially unpleasant employees was to question their inclination to follow rules.

Individuals who claimed to be rule followers were, in fact, 33% more likely to break the rules.

The report highlighted it is essential that companies remain careful in their recruitment processes because hiring toxic employees take a huge toll on companies that make the mistake of hiring them.

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“Not only are there hard costs associated with sexual harassment lawsuits, workplace violence, theft, and fraud, but the even more caustic effects of their disruptive behavior— for example, workplace bullying—destroy the social fabric of the organisation and have a negative impact on the performance of co-workers,” the report stated.

In fact, the study highlighted the exact cost of hiring a single toxic employee onto a team of 20 workers is approximately $12,800.

Interestingly,  the indirect costs of toxic employees—as measured by the toll they take on co-workers—caused their employers even more financial burden than the direct costs of their misbehaviour.

Employees are approximately 54% more likely to depart an organisation voluntarily if the ratio of toxic to good employees on a team is just 1:20.

“It is absolutely critical that employers focus their attention on avoiding toxic employees in the first place and, alternatively, do their best to identify and eradicate cancerous employee behaviour quickly,” the report stated.

Image: Shutterstock

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