Toxic Personalities in the Workplace: How to Avoid Hiring Bullies

Toxic Personalities in the Workplace: How to Avoid Hiring Bullies

The “Great Resignation” has hit healthcare harder than most other industries, making it tough for facilities to stay fully staffed. Meeting this challenge means putting in place a more positive corporate culture — and avoiding the hiring of toxic personalities in the workplace is a huge part of that strategy. With that in mind, here are a few ways to make sure your next hire doesn’t turn out to be a bully.

Why It’s Important to Avoid Toxic Personalities in the Workplace

Given the scarcity of available workers in many locations, retaining employees should be a top concern among healthcare leaders. And, as we emphasized in our recent report on healthcare company culture, one of the most effective ways to do so is by creating a more positive environment — a strategy that includes weeding out toxic personalities in the workplace.

Taking this step can have a big impact on your ability to attract and retain workers, and ultimately meet your patient care goals. After all, a single overtly negative personality can make an entire workplace toxic. And, as the Healthy Workforce Institute — the “global leader in addressing disruptive behavior in healthcare” — points out, once these people are on the team, it can be hard to get them out.

With that in mind, here are a few strategies that healthcare organizations can put in place to help ensure they’re weeding out toxic personalities in the workplace during their recruitment efforts.  

5 Strategies to Avoid Toxic Personalities in the Workplace

#1: Invest in Improving Your Retention Rates

By implementing staff retention initiatives, you can avoid the need to hire as many new workers, thus lowering your chances of hiring a bully. And since a key strategy for doing so is offering workers a positive culture, this strategy works as a tide that lifts all ships — by helping to weed out toxic personalities not only among potential hires but within the organization, as well.

“Not surprisingly, companies with a reputation for a healthy culture … experienced lower-than-average turnover during the first six months of the Great Resignation,” wrote the authors of a report from MIT Sloan Management Review concluding that toxic cultures were the biggest driver of employee dissatisfaction during the “Great Resignation.”  

For a deeper dive into improving retention by building a more positive culture, check out our 6 Strategies for a More Positive Corporate Culture in Healthcare.

#2: Update and Reinforce Your Mission & Values

If your organization has an employee handbook or code of conduct, review that content again to make sure it includes anti-bullying messaging. And if it doesn’t, add it in. Redistribute it to your current staff, and try to provide it to potential new candidates, as well, to help them understand that toxic personalities in the workplace will not be tolerated.

#3: Emphasize Teamwork

While you’re updating your code of conduct, take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of teamwork in your mission statement, too. This lets you “establish behavioral expectations as a team,” as the HWI puts it. Take the opportunity to emphasize collaboration, respect and kindness towards others, in no uncertain terms.

By establishing norms that let everyone know how they should be treated, and how they should treat others, your organization sets standards by which you can measure violations. And, of course, nurturing a sense of teamwork could have the added bonus of boosting productivity and further improving your company culture, too.

#4: Refine Your Screening & Hiring Process

Another key strategy for weeding out toxic personalities in the workplace is updating your employee screening process. The idea here is to add more specific processes and questions to detect bullies or otherwise problematic workers.

Few people would admit to being a bully. But a thorough look at their background can help enlighten you. The HWI calls this hiring “for character” rather than for skill: “You can forgive errors in clinical practice but make it clear that you do not forgive cruelty.”  

During the interview process, consider adding behavioral interviewing questions to better detect toxic personalities. These could include:

  • Describe a workplace conflict you’ve had in the past, and what you did to resolve it.
  • Describe a time when you feel that were mistreated by co-workers, or by your direct supervisor.
  • Describe a mistake you’ve made in the past, and what you did to correct it.
  • Which of your accomplishments are you most proud? Was it an individual or team effort?
  • What does respect in the workplace mean to you?
  • Are there any types of people you find difficult to work with?
  • How do you think your former colleagues would describe you?

A better screening process means asking more targeted questions of references, too. These folks are generally willing to say only positive things about former workers, as a professional gesture. But the right targeted questions, similar to those above, can provide revealing information.

Having other staff members interview candidates is also a good addition to your screening process. You should also consider having potential new hires “shadow” another worker for a few hours before extending an offer. This will give you, your team and the potential new hire a better understanding of how they’ll actually behave in your facility.

#5: Partner with a Proven Workforce Resource

Of course, many healthcare employers are operating on razor-thin margins, and may not have the time or resources to invest in what’s really needed for some of the strategies above. For these organizations — and for all healthcare leaders seeking to improve efficiency in hiring and managing workers — partnering with a proven clinical workforce solutions provider could be the winning strategy.

Specialized recruitment providers can help you find and hire the specific type of people you’re seeking — personality types as well as skill sets. On top of that, healthcare managed services allow employers to leverage automated solutions targeted at sourcing or onboarding procedures can free up huge chunks of time for your administrative staff, which could, in turn, free up valuable space in the budget.

And, by finding a company offering nationwide healthcare staffing and recruitment services, employers can also enjoy access to much wider pool of candidates. Plus, leading recruitment providers like CareerStaff have high standards of hiring, helping ensure that your organization doesn’t get stuck with any more toxic personalities in the workplace.

Learn More about Workforce Solutions from CareerStaff

Don’t Hire a Bully! Weed Out Toxic Personalities in the Workplace with CareerStaff

If you’re looking to improve your process for sourcing, screening, interviewing or other workforce task, we’ve got the expertise and resources to help you get the job done right! Contact us today to learn more about the clinical workforce solutions available from CareerStaff.

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