How One Unfortunate Hire Can Poison Your Workplace Culture – Can You Course-Correct?

    A business owner or manager can make the mistake of accidentally hiring a toxic employee. The unfortunate hire made it through the interview process, underwent onboarding, and is now working in your company. What’s next?

    The impact of an unfortunate hire

    A toxic employee can cause a lot of damage to your company. They cause headaches and stress, annoy your high performers, and generally impact company culture negatively. This takes a toll on your psyche, sometimes leaving you incapable of focusing on other important areas of the business.

    One cannot ignore the consequences of an unfortunate hire. Eventually, every outcome in the business will be the employer’s fault, from poorly operating systems that cause friction in the team to a printer that’s habitually out of order. Employers carry a heavy load on their shoulders, but it’s part of being a leader. 

    As the manager or owner, the poisoning of workplace culture that occurs is your fault because you either outright gave this person the job or created a procedure where such a person was welcomed into your business.  

    Time clocks as part of the solution 

    The best time clocks for work let you track how your staff is spending their time and save on administrative expenses, giving you and your HR more time to focus on more important and valuable tasks. They also help discourage lateness and enforce punctuality. They promote a culture of discipline and accountability, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. In fact, course-correcting an unfortunate hire can start with the best choice of a time clock

    Time clocks will also indicate poor performance and enable you to react. This is a major advantage because it takes time to notice someone is toxic. What’s more, it’s usually not appropriate to terminate an employee right after noticing you’ve made a bad hire. Instead, you should use workplace guidelines to discipline them. 

    A key element of this process is clearly explaining the impact of their negative behavior. You can do this via email or in person, depending on your work environment or schedule. A written warning can be beneficial if you’ve already discussed the issues with the problematic employee, but their behavior still hasn’t improved. 

    Statistics on the costs of a bad hire

    It’s important to make every effort to eliminate toxic workplace behavior. According to a 2023 study cited by Forbes Magazine, more than 80% of employees decide to quit because of their coworkers’ behavior. 

    An unfortunate hire can lead to a productivity drop of 36%. In addition, almost 50% of CFOs confirm that bad hires impact other employees’ morale adversely.

    An unfortunate hire can damage your company’s reputation. According to 89% of employers, toxic employees typically lack soft skills. 

    Finally, about two-thirds of employers who made an unfortunate hire reported losses of $14,900 per year on average.


    What are the signs of a toxic employee?

    Toxic employees gossip, complain a lot, and blame others for their mistakes. They can report coworkers out of spite.

    How does a bad hire impact company culture?

    A bad hire’s actions stress other employees out, infusing company culture with frustration. 

    What should you do if you’ve made a bad hire?

    Before you approach an unfortunate hire to discuss their behavior, you need proof of it. You can gather emails in which they offend or undermine coworkers. It’s also helpful to collect formal complaints that other employees filed to notify the company of the problem. 

    Finally, don’t take a toxic team member’s actions personally. They usually have nothing to do with the employer. When you talk to them, give them honest and direct feedback as part of a 1:1 review.

    How can you prevent a bad hire? 

    Provide accurate job descriptions to avoid unfortunate hires. Research each candidate to determine if they are right for the position. A quick Google search can be helpful, revealing information about potential hires you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.

    Always take the time to check their references. It’s advisable to call each one. Most bad hires lack or have poor soft skills, and their negative attitude toward work affects workplace culture adversely. Evaluating soft skills and attitudes toward work during the screening process is imperative.

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