Superstar employees, those who function at the highest level of productivity, are invaluable assets. And many companies go to great lengths to recruit and retain them. But, according to a Harvard Business School study, there is something even more critical: Avoiding and weeding out toxic employees.
The study quantifies its findings by noting that each superstar employee — defined as a "top 1 percent" worker — will save the average company $5,303. Yet avoiding a toxic employee -- defined as one that “engages in harmful behaviors to an organization, its property, or people" -- will save the average company $12,489. That figure doesn't even include "savings from sidestepping litigation, regulatory penalties, or decreased productivity as a result of low morale."
Overt underperformers may be easy to spot, but truly toxic ones may appear to do satisfactory work while actually slowly destroying the performance, attitude, and morale of other employees. According to the study, as reported in Inc. there are three key predictors of such insidious employees:
The bottom line: “Be thorough, thoughtful, and deliberate when you make hiring decisions. Be even more thorough, thoughtful, and deliberate about dealing with toxic employees.”
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