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red flag employee

How To Spot, (And Avoid) a Red Flag Employee

red flag employee

Whether You Are Dealing With A Candidate Or A Chameleon, These Are The Signs To Look Out For With a Red Flag Employee.  

Hiring employees and employee management can be a minefield. Figuring out how to motivate workers, while also maintaining consistent discipline is a balancing act. 

Throw a red flag employee into this mix and you can basically just give up on having a healthy, thriving work environment. 

When it comes to problematic employees, you can roughly split them into two categories 

Before Hiring: The Candidate 

The hiring process is an important place to weed out a potential red flag employee.  

The obvious warning signs include:  

Patchy work history.  

A lot of job hopping without any real reason such as family relocation or promotion. 

Lack of specific work examples. 

Gossiping and blaming former colleagues or superiors. 

These signs are easy to spot and if you pay particular attention to them, you can save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run. Don’t be fooled by someone who might interview well and come over as competent. 

Remember, if someone seems too good to be true, they usually are.  

The three months probation period for new employees is your best tool! Make use of it and ensure that you put any new hires through their paces during this time. 

After Hiring: The Chameleon 

After the hiring process, it is MUCH more difficult to deal with an employee who has become problematic.  

An employee might have looked good on paper and performed well for the first couple of months, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change dramatically and become a big problem.  

Let’s call them “Chameleons.” 

Chameleons have the ability to quickly shift gears, become toxic and negatively affect an entire workforce as soon as the probation period is over. 

Their Actions Include: 

Criticizing colleagues and superiors publicly and through the wrong channels. 

Spreading rumours and sowing discord. 

Unprofessional conduct towards customers/suppliers 

Blame shifting and not taking responsibility.  

Taking extended leave as often as possible. (This might include abusing sick leave.) 

While these destructive actions might be easy to pick up on, they can be very difficult to prove for the purposes of disciplinary action.  

The best way to prevent a toxic red flag employee from poisoning your entire workforce is to have good record keeping, clear channels for anonymous whistleblowing and a plan to build a sound legal case against any employee who “Chameleons” their way into your business. 

When it comes to employee management it’s worth taking the time to extensively vet your Candidates and doing the hard work to legally rid your employment ecosystem of any destructive Chameleons 

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