So exactly what is a “toxic worker”?
“It’s someone who engages in behavior that is harmful to an organization.” — Harvard Business School
And toxic workers are a particular threat to small business (like salons).
“The more intimate the workplace, the faster the negative interpersonal issues can spread. Workplace conflicts and decreased morale can disrupt productivity, alienate workers and have catastrophic effects on your employee retention efforts” according to blog postings by Accountemps.
Toxic workers can cost your salon its reputation as well as putting a drag on your profits.
Pinpointing Toxic Workers
So how can you identify a toxic worker?
Just like Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who blew the Watergate Scandal wide open by “following the money”; you just “follow the behavior”
By following the behavior you can pinpoint the “5 types of Toxic Workers”
- Gossip-mongers: They spread fear-spouting hearsay
- Big Bullies: These employees repeatedly put others down by humiliating them
- Saboteurs Extraordinaire: These are people trying to gain advantage by hurting fellow workers.
- Spotlight Stealers: They take credit for others’ work and hoard the limelight in team projects.
- Chronic Complainers: These are people who are continually complaining about co-workers, clients or working conditions.
And what happens when a toxic worker happens to be a “superstar” stylist?
When a toxic worker happens to be a “superstar” stylist you have a tough problem on your hands. Ultimately it comes down to the owner having to “bite the bullet” by getting rid of them.
Yes, it’s easier said than done. Especially when that person is holding you hostage with their “big book”.
But the Harvard Study shows that over time your company is better off without them.
One of my mentors, hairstylist/entrepreneur Jean Louis David once said to me when we were talking about this topic.
“Andrew, I’d rather cut off my arm, than lose my life”
And while that may cause collateral damage to your salon in the short run, keeping them on-board (as the numbers in the Harvard Study indicate) only allows the gangrene to spread – and never allows your company to become healthy.
Most salons keep the person on – hoping that things will change
Keep your Salon Toxic-Free
Here are three ways to keep your salon toxic-free.
- Don’t hire the toxic workers in the first place.
- Have periodic “career conversations” with your team members – to get a pulse on the workplace
- Hold regular performance reviews (the more frequent the better)
By keeping your salon toxic – free you’ll be able to keep morale high, keep good employees longer and build a more profitable salon.