Your company culture, especially in the early-stages of a startup, is effectively your people, full stop — it’s not a complicated thing to grok.
And as your team grows and expands, this dynamic doesn’t principally change, but its impact does. In other words, the number of folks that are impacted by a new hire continually grows but the size of that impact (qualitatively and quantitatively) is reduced.
When a new hire kicks ass, everyone gets accelerated and the company experiences the natural and amazing benefits of having a new
force multiplier on the team, pushing everyone to become more effective versions of themselves.
But, when you hire someone who eventually is discovered to be
toxic, you risk destroying everything that you’ve worked so hard to build.
Thankfully, the only solution is a simple one: Fire them.
How do you know if someone is a toxic employee? That’s also pretty simple to figure out: Ask your team. Why? Because they already know.
And, you probably have a good read on the person already yourself, but, if you’re particularly obtuse, then, asking your team after a certain period of time (30, 60, 90 days post-hire) can work very well.
Naturally, this only works really well if you’ve built an organizational culture built on trust — and if you haven’t worked on building that up, well, then every hire you make from here on out is going to start with a deficit.
Every new manager and startup founder will eventually hire a
toxic employee — don’t stress about it.
Instead, the more important thing is that you move quickly from your “gut instinct” to action because the most common mistake is keeping these folks on the proverbial bus for much longer than is necessary.
Your team will thank you when they leave and, in time, maybe even the person you had to fire. Maybe.