Health & Human Services, Enrichment, and Business and Management Enrichment Health and Human Services Business & Management

Workplace Culture and Toxic Employees

There is so much to be gained by having a workplace of respect and collaboration. While it's not easy to address a well-entrenched negative employee, it can be done. During this course we will look at the importance of articulating a positive standard of behavior and how best to do so; intervening when employees clearly violate this standard and tips for accomplishing this; and supporting the employees around the offender, helping them set better boundaries, and tips for doing this well. We will explore the challenges of intervening swiftly and responsively, and review tools for facing these challenges.

Participants will:

  • Understand what it takes to develop a positive/productive workplace culture
  • How toxic employees and bullies disrupt positive culture and reduce productivity
  • How toxic employees develop power and control others
  • How to resist manipulation
  • The workplace as a social system
  • The importance of guiding behavior at work (ethics and conduct guides)
  • Implementing a code of conduct
  • Performance counseling with toxic employees and bullies
  • Staying grounded with negative employees around you

Day one includes a review of current workplace challenges to employee engagement, how workplace bullying develops, different types of difficult employees, how supervisors are neutralized, an analysis of manipulation tactics and where we often go wrong as well as general overviews of bullying and the importance of developing a positive workplace.

Day two incudes a review of workshop sociology, strategic approaches to workplace conduct, crafting and using a code of conduct to shift culture, rules of thirds applied to HR implementation, performance counseling with bullies, and how best to stay personally grounded controlling what you can and enriching non-work life.

Suzanne Benoit, LCSW, SPHR is author, speaker and consultant. Ms. Benoit is a human resource consultant working with companies and HR professionals; developing tools and solutions to a wide variety of employee relations problems. Strategic planning and workplace quality are specialty areas. She has a varied background in a family business, large for-profit corporation and small business. She is often called in to help shift workplace atmosphere to a healthier standard. Doing business as Benoit Consulting, Ms. Benoit develops strategies that approach a healthy workplace from the point of view of owners, customers AND employees. Striving for excellence means a no-compromise posture on workplace abuse and intimidation and creating supporting structures that reward candor, respect and accountability. Her recently released book on Toxic Employees describes how negative dynamics develop and how they can be shifted toward the positive with a strategic approach. She writes about these and other HR topics at and speaks to a wide variety of business groups offering quality technical info with humor and an interactive style. Ms. Benoit can be reached at Learn more at

2 Fridays, June 13 and 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Registration has ended. Please browse courses for future offerings of this course.

$295 (12 contact hours/ 1.2 CEUs)
Abromson Center, 88 Bedford Street, USM Portland campus


Class meets 6/13 & 6/20.