Eliminating workplace negativity can greatly impact employee morale.
Leadership, managers and your HR department should all pay attention to keep a pulse on the negativity levels in the workplace. A single employee or a group of employees upset about any number of things can spread negativity across your workplace like wildfire. When you are aware of with whom and why negativity begins, you run a much higher chance of nipping it in the bud. It is much easier to try and prevent it or stop negative talk and behaviors than to deal with it once it’s running rampant throughout your organization.
How to prevent workplace negativity in the first place.
- Consistent messaging and actions: Uncertainty can instill fear and lead to negativity in the workplace. Create a communication strategy that allows all employees to hear about company news in a timely and efficient manner to eliminate this problem. Make everyone feel they are part of the “in crowd”.Following through with or acting on the items you are communicating creates a consistent pattern of behavior that employees will appreciate and rely on. If you’re going to talk-the-talk, then walk-the-walk.
- Treat all employees fairly: Much like we despised teacher’s pets in school, employees are not keen on management playing favorites. Managers are human and it is natural for some people’s personalities to click better or faster than others. Management just needs to be extra careful to treat all employees the same regardless. Favoritism leads to spite and anger.
- Provide opportunity: Employees thrive when they have opportunities to learn and grow in areas they display passion. They have a more positive approach when their voice is heard and they feel their work is making an impact on the bigger picture. Employees love the opportunity to be involved in the decision making process for areas that affect their job. When an employee is not presented with these opportunities, he or she may feel resentful, stifled or caught in a dead end job – none of which make for a positive employee.
Even organizations that are diligent in all three of these areas may still experience negativity in the workplace.
These 4 I’s that will help you positively deal with it.
Identify the culprit. What employee or group is the source of the negativity?
Have a direct conversation to figure out the root cause of the negative talk or behavior. Listen to the employee carefully with an open mind. Do you detect a natural ‘glass half empty’ type of personality? Or is there a specific reason for the negativity?
Inform and Influence
Make the offender aware of the unacceptable talk or behavior and how it is impacting the business or those around them. If you classify it as a personality trait, the employee may need some direction on how to change his or her behavior. It’s possible that he or she may not be aware of the impact they have on those around them. If you do identify a specific issue, address it and come up with an acceptable resolution. If the situation is serious enough to warrant a warning, then document the conversation including the steps the employee can take to correct his or her behavior.
If you find negativity overcoming your workplace, it may be time to take a step back and identify ways in which you can positively impact your company culture. Tandem HR can help. We are a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in the Chicago area that assists hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses with creating exceptional workplaces. We also help clients save time and money while growing their business by taking on the administrative tasks associated with human resources, benefits, payroll, tax administration, regulatory compliance and risk management.