Toxic employees, or “bad apples,” can spread negativity and dysfunction, diminishing the performance and morale of an entire company. If they can’t be reformed or fired right away, one way executives can reduce their impact is to isolate them, say experts at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The school’s May 2, 2018 Kellogg Insight blog posting recommends putting toxic workers on things like special projects, removing them from primary interactions in an effort to contain any damage they may cause.
By doing so, the organization is better protected because the questionable employee isn’t running key operations or interacting with so many people within an organization. The hope, the posting noted, is that employees removed from central operations would get the hint and move on.
In lieu of that, executives should try to improve the questionable employees’ behavior, the posting recommends. Before offering a job, executives would do well to check references beyond those initially provided. Testing these dubious potential employees first as consultants to see how they behave and perform is another tactic that can help, according to the blog posting.
This recommendation is part of a larger blog posting you can read here, titled “Take 5: How to Keep Your High Performers Happy.”