However, a recent Harvard Business Review study has proven that the worst worker is not necessarily lazy; in fact, they are often quite successful on the surface. According to the report, the worst type of worker is the "toxic" employee. Toxic employees are "talented and productive people who engage in behavior that is harmful to an organization." In many cases, this individual engages in illegal behavior and lacks integrity as a whole.
What is even more counterintuitive is the body of behaviors shown most often by toxic employees. According to the study, the toxic employee usually behaves in the following ways:
Although a few of these items sound odd or ironic, careful research has determined them to be the most telling factors.
Furthermore, this type of employee will not always commit crimes or engage in shady behavior; many environmental factors play a role in this. One such factor is the attitudes of other employees. If everyone else is doing the right thing, it is possible that the toxic employee will also follow the beaten path.
To avoid toxic employees, the study recommends actively focusing on avoiding bad hires at least as much, if not more so, than on attracting star performers in order to lessen the odds of shady behavior.