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Toxic employees of the month: The constant socializers


We all know these particular types of employees. They are constantly chatting with their coworkers and planning after-work activities. They may be the office favorites and everyone’s best friend, but if their workplace gossip or frequent conversations are negatively impacting your company’s productivity and worker morale, it may be time to step in and take action. For this toxic employees of the month article, we will focus on workers known as constant socializers.

What are constant socializers?
Constant socializers are workers who were once the office socialites or charismatic extroverts, and have gotten carried away. Some of the worst or most extreme traits of these employees are their lack of focus, loud demeanor, unprofessional or immature attitude and gossipy approach to workplace drama.

Workplace gossip can negatively affect a positive working environment. Workplace gossip can negatively affect a positive working environment.

While the most obvious pain point for having these workers in your office is low productivity, the gossip aspect of their socializing can cause problems as well. Coworkers may become bitter or angry at certain pieces of gossip these employees pass around, causing seeds of discontent to grow into a fully-fledged hostile work environment. Implement a no-tolerance approach to harmful gossip to fend off future occurrences. Though you may not want gossip in your office, it is important for your employees to get to know each other and socialize during the day.

Shouldn’t constant socializers make your entire workplace happier?
Today’s workplace has become a “home away from home” in certain cases, where employees are working long hours and depend on their coworkers for necessary social interactions. Socializing at work is not always a bad thing. Alexander Kjerulf, an international author and speaker on happiness at work, explained that socializing in the workplace is actually essential for your career.

“If you’re not able to relate to your coworkers as human beings and build positive relationships, your career will suffer,” Kjerulf told Forbes. “Socializing and getting to know them as people will help you to communicate better, trust each other more and work better together. Also, employees who have positive workplace relationships are happier at work … and we know that people who are happy at work are more productive, more creative and more successful overall.”

“Low to medium-levels of office engagement are signs of a healthy office.”

By Kjerulf’s line of thought, employees who consistently socialize with their peers should feel more fulfilled in their daily work and boost company morale across the board. While this may be the case for certain small businesses or companies that do not work on strict deadlines, for the vast majority of companies, too much social interaction during the workday negatively affects productivity. Basically, low- to medium-levels of office engagement are signs of a healthy office, while nonexistent to high-levels of socialization are damaging.

How can I curb the bad habits of the constant socializers?
All is not lost if you have a few overly chatty employees in your office. You must be upfront with your expectations regarding their deadlines, communication patterns and appropriate behavior at work. Host sessions where you discuss best practices for workplace social interactions and encourage employees to get together after work hours if they want to invest in their work friendships.

If these employees are still underperforming or lowering the entire office’s ability to be productive, you may need to sit down and have a serious talk with your constant socializers. Be clear and firm, showing them how their lack of focus and desire to communicate is not only hurting them, but also their coworkers. If they continue to chat in the break room and ignore their assignments, you may need to take more serious disciplinary actions.

How can you know if you are about to hire an unqualified constant socializer? Implement pre-employment tests into your hiring method to weed out the good candidates from the bad. Not only will this save you time in the vetting process, but it will also ensure that you only hire the best candidates for your open positions. Contact EmployTest today to learn more!