Prevent Toxic Employees from Poisoning Your Practice

By Sofranec, Diane | Medical Economics, December 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Prevent Toxic Employees from Poisoning Your Practice


Sofranec, Diane, Medical Economics


Take action before patients go elsewhere for care and valued workers look for new jobs

No matter how long you have been in practice, chances are you have encountered a toxic employee who poisoned the atmosphere of your workplace. If you don't take action fast, such an employee can threaten your relationships with your patients and your staff, affecting your income in many ways:

Staff defections. When one employee treats another one poorly, says Keith Borglum, a consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, California, "often, the other staff members are reticent to say anything, so they quit."

And it happens more than you might think. Twelve percent of workers have left jobs because of poor treatment (See "How one uncivil act can affect employees.") When that happens, an employer will spend an amount equivalent to one to five times an employee's annual salary to recruit and train the departed employee, depending on his or her position.

Those statistics come courtesy of research conducted by Christine Pearson, PhD, professor of global leadership at the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Christine Porath, PhD, associate professor at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, authors of The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What You Can Do About It.

Decreased productivity. More than 95% of Americans say they've experienced rudeness at work, according to Pearson and Porath. Among workers who decide to remain in their positions despite their bad experiences, a toxic employee frequently becomes the focus of the workplace, causing a time-wasting distraction. And teamwork among staff members may become a thing of the past.

"The productivity of the toxic individual can slow, because nobody wants to be around [him or her]," says Borglum, a Medical Economics editorial consultant. "One bad player on a football team can cause the whole team to lose."

Also, office morale will take a hit if your dependable, hardworking employees think you condone poor behavior. They may see you as an ineffective manager who does not know the difference between workers you should value and those you should fire.

Lost patients. If a patient has a run-in with a problem employee- or even witnesses one staff member treating another one poorly- he or she may be compelled to seek medical care elsewhere and to spread the word about the negative experience in your practice. (See 'Tatient retention: Attitude is everything")

Given these threats to your livelihood, only one solution works when it comes to a confirmed problem worker, experts advise, and although it may seem extreme, you can't afford to put it off: Fire the employee. But first you must properly identify toxic activity, and you'll also want to handle the situation fairly for all involved.

HEED THE WARNING SIGNS

A toxic employee is not necessarily an ineptly skilled one. He or she may even be making positive contributions to the practice, but the person's net effect on the practice is negative.

"Sometimes your toxic employee is doing a really good job; she is just a jerk," Borglum says.

What are the warning signs?

Watch for unethical, inappropriate, or unprofessional conduct. Toxic employees often exhibit passive-aggressive behavior, spread gossip about their co-workers, and are rude to patients and colleagues.

'They stimulate a sense of discord in the workplace," Borglum says.

They also may be uncooperative, exhibit a flagrant disregard for office rules, and seldom take responsibility for their actions. "It's everybody and everything else that's wrong, not themselves," Borglum says.

Many have negative attitudes. "Almost never do you have a toxic employee who is a happy-go-lucky, positive person in the rest of [his or her] life," he adds.

Because you are a busy physician, your staff members may recognize the telltale indicators before you do, so take their complaints about a co-worker seriously, and try to be aware of staff dynamics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Prevent Toxic Employees from Poisoning Your Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.