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Human Resources Tip of the Month

Warning: Toxic Workplace Ahead!

Helen Sorrentino

Friday, August 22, 2014 • 9:05pm

Workplaces that strive to engage and listen to employees, offer appropriate recognition and address internal problems as they arise, see increases in productivity, loyalty, and customer service. These workplaces have strived to create well functioning environments where mutual respect and appreciation are evident.

What happens when a workplace becomes toxic, where bullying occurs, employees are insubordinate, rumors abound or co-workers don’t function as a team but gang up on one another? Identifying toxic workplace behavior is not necessarily hard to spot but correcting or avoiding it all together can be a challenge. How does one handle these situations? DEFUSE!

D- Don’t let inappropriate behavior go unaddressed

Ignoring behavior that creates toxic workplaces will not solve the problem it will only perpetuate it. Address problems within the workplace quickly and fairly.

E- Encourage communication

Encourage healthy communication and provide an environment where conflict is resolved in constructive ways. These are not only preventative actions that can be taken to avert toxic workplace behavior, but good communication and intervention can be used in the midst of correcting an already toxic situation.

F- Find the cause

Get to the root of the problem. Identifying the people and behaviors that are causing issues among the ranks are the first steps in moving toward a healthy work environment.

U- Understand the importance of follow-up

Understand that follow up procedures and continual strategies for navigating workplace toxicity must stay active. Once a situation has been resolved creating an atmosphere for things to stay positive and productive is an on-going process.

S- Sound termination

 In some cases the termination of employees may be the action required to turn around a harmful work environment. Documentation of previous incidences and reports of inappropriate conduct are ways to handle these serious situations and rid the workplace of harmful and possibly illegal behavior.

E- Establish company policies and appropriate disciplinary actions

 Implement anti-bullying policies that are expressed and made known to all employees. Instances that do arise should be dealt with quickly and in accordance with the policies already in place. Disciplinary actions should also be outlined and made clear.

Whether you are dealing with an environment that is unhealthy or an issue between just 2 co-workers, certain behaviors in the workplace can bring morale down, effect productivity, and even cause people to find other places of employment. Strategies that are in place to both avoid and resolve workplace problems are an important part of growing a healthy business.  

Helen M. Sorrentino is the owner and Managing Member of HR Practices, LLC, a Human Resources consulting firm. She started the company is 2009 to respond to the needs of the small business owner with an employee base between two (2)-fifty (50) employees in New Jersey and New York City.

Helen has 20+ years of experience in Human Resource management working within diverse industries such as engineering and manufacturingapparel, biotechnical, printing, music and telemarketingIn past her HR roles she provided support to all levels of management in training, organizational development, coaching, planning and all areas of Human Resources.  These companies ranged from an employee base of less than forty (40) employees up to seventy-five hundred (7500) employees and represented such industries as engineering, apparel, telemarketing and biomedical.

Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kean University; a Master of Arts from Montclair University and a Master’s of Science degree in Human Resources Management from Upsala College.  Helen stays current by taking continuing education courses via seminars and webinars encompassing state and federal labor law compliance, policies/procedures, health care reform and all areas of employee relations to recruiting and background checks  to terminating employees to responding to EEOC, DOL, Wage & Hour, OSHA and ICE audits

HR Practices LLC is currently a member of the below professional organizations:

A few of the industries represented by HR Practices’ clients are; apparel, medical billing; doctors’ offices; biotechnical; printing; electrical contractors; non-profit organizations, day care business; cosmetics, physical therapy and other consulting businesses.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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