How one poisonous employee could bring down your business

A poisonous employee can do untold damage to your business so don’t hesitate to take quick remedial action.

By Henry Brown

It is often said that the most important asset of any business is its people. Small business owners rely on the individuals they hire to work well together and to create something together that will please customers. Sadly, all it takes is a single employee to ruin the entire team spirit and bring down your business.

Toxic employees are sometimes difficult to weed out, and by the time you’ve noticed something is wrong in your office or shop due to a single person, the team’s morale could be so low that it’s already too late to save your company. Depending on the position of said employee, the damage they inflict could range from a minor nuisance to potentially closing down your company. Here are just a couple of ways that an employee could poison your company and how you can prevent it from happening.

Affecting other employees

The most obvious way that toxic employees can affect those around them is when they decide to argue or bully other employees. This is often seen when a new employee joins the team and senior members are frustrated with them for one reason or another. This can lead to dissatisfaction with the job and ultimately cause issues in the future with new employees. It’s a good idea to speak often with new recruits and let them open up to you about their problems in the workplace, be it due to a toxic employee or even because of personal issues.

To allow your new hires – or anyone, for that matter – to be treated poorly by other team members will lead to high turnover, which is costly. While it may be painful to let go a senior staff member who has turned into a bully, in the long run this may be your best solution. Give the individual fair warning to reform and if that doesn’t result in positive change, don’t be afraid to show him/her the door.

Committing fraud

One of the most troublesome thoughts for any business owner is the idea that one of their employees could commit a fraudulent offence. This might include tax evasion, using the company’s personal budget for their own needs or even outright conning your customers into paying more money for products and pocketing the difference between the actual price and their inflated price. These are all offences that you should not have to deal with. If one of your employees is caught doing this, then you need to terminate their contract as soon as possible. Luckily, there are services like Mackay, Caswell & Callahan that offer attorneys to deal with anything from tax audits to criminal investigations. Your financial advisor and accountant should be trustworthy enough to tell you if these issues are happening to prevent them from spreading and causing damage to your entire company.

Poor customer service

We also can’t forget how a disgruntled employee can negatively affect your business’s image. For starters, a poisonous employee can often give customers a poor impression of your business, and they will likely leave negative feedback online for others to see. This puts off other customers from dealing with your company and could drastically reduce your profits if this is allowed to go on.

To deal with this problem, take customer feedback seriously and listen to what they have to say about your employees. If your employees are acting negatively towards customers on social media as well, then request they delete the messages as soon as possible and restrict their access to the company’s social media accounts.

Having poisonous employee is not a situation you can tolerate for long. Any of the situations above needs to be dealt with quickly and effectively. Do not delay taking action is you uncover such problems among your staff.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.




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