We’ve all worked with one at some point or another: the person who derails productivity, trashes team morale, and knocks out the self-esteem of their co-workers. There’s no question that toxic employees can leave a minefield in their wake. But, this doesn’t always leave the leader positioned above them truly empowered to set things right. Luckily, that’s where corporate internal investigations come in.

At times, even when seeing the red flag indicators of a toxic employee, it can be challenging to demonstrate that company policy has been breached. When toxicity is allowed to run rampant within a corporate environment, what results can become a hotbed for corporate theft and white collar crime as employees lose faith in their role and mission.

In order to avoid that path, collaborating with a corporate investigations specialist can help you build the body of evidence you need to quickly nip the problem in the bud. If there’s a danger that the problem is endemic, a Corporate Culture Audit can allow you to set a course towards company-wide resolution.

What Makes an Employee Behave in a Toxic Way?

When we talk about a toxic employee, we’re describing someone who is more than difficult or inclined to underperform. The hallmarks of toxicity are those of the saboteur; their presence will have a knock-on effect that will eventually harm company culture and ultimately your bottom line—far beyond the scope of their role alone. In aiming to address the impact of a toxic employee, insight into why people behave this way can be helpful.

Toxic behavior in the workplace can be a sign that the employee in question is going through personal issues, and taking out their emotions in a destructive way. Bereavement, trouble at home, or mental illness can all result in acting out if the employee in question doesn’t know how to navigate the challenges they face. Not dis-similarly, employees who are feeling insecure in their role may begin to behave in a toxic manner—exploiting the vulnerabilities of others as an unhealthy coping mechanism. In these moments, a supportive and open-door policy may allow you to turn the situation around.

In some cases, a toxic employee may simply feel the need to exert control and power over others. Research reveals that around 4% of people engage in this type of toxic behavior because they enjoy it. They may resort to manipulation and bullying because they feel they can get away with it. With this in mind, it is important to approach corporate investigations focusing on toxic employee behavior with the understanding that termination may become the only possible path to resolution. Finally, it is also vital to be aware that the toxic employee you see may only be the tip of the iceberg. At times, damaging employee behavior can serve as a clue to a larger pattern of workplace dysfunction.

Taking Action With a Swift and Effective Corporate Investigation

Many larger organizations may choose to tackle toxic employee culture with corporate internal investigations. However, for smaller businesses—and at times larger ones too—it can be hugely challenging to launch an impartial investigation of this nature.

Complex dynamics between employees and even entire teams can make the ethics of internal scrutiny difficult to assure, leaving the organization in question vulnerable to legal challenge or even litigation. Corporate internal investigations can provide clarity. When the issue at hand is of a sensitive nature, corporate investigations are typically easier when an impartial outsider with the expertise required to act quickly and diligently steps in as a specialist collaborator.

A skilled corporate investigations expert will be able to aid in the establishment of patterns of behavior, documenting both actions and impacts in order to build an air-tight case for discipline or dismissal. Through the application of a corporate culture audit, they will also be able to provide eye-opening advice, allowing you to avoid future run-ins with toxic employees, forging a stronger, more collaborative working environment in which your team can truly thrive. Finally, their presence will allow you to keep your own energy focused where it should be—on what counts. Managing a toxic employee can be a drain on leadership resources, but seasoned corporate investigators will lift the burden of handling toxic employees in your midst.
Specializing in corporate security and investigations, corporate theft, white collar crime, risk consulting, and much more, Lauth Investigations make it their mission to help businesses create a firm foundation upon which success can stand proudly. In addition to tackling corporate investigations on their client’s behalf, Lauth investigators also provide corporate culture audits, illuminating workplace vulnerabilities so that harm can be mitigated. If you would like support in navigating toxic employee culture, discover more about what the team can do for your organization, or contact Lauth Investigations today.