Nothing drains employee morale faster than an environment characterized by consistent workplace negativity.
Constant complaining, disruptive gossip, resistance to change, manipulation, lack of accountability. No one is a ray of sunshine all the time but in some cases, workplace negativity can become toxic. In this situation, cynicism and adverse attitudes contaminate the entire team, driving pessimism and discord through the roof. If you identify persistent workplace negativity, don’t ignore it hoping it will improve on its own. The longer it is allowed to perpetuate, the more damage is likely to occur.
Read on for some important information about workplace negativity and seven steps you can take to stop it in its tracks.
What’s driving these downcast attitudes?
The list of reasons why people complain at work is a long one. Some are habitual wet blankets who see the glass as half empty and are perpetually malcontented. It can be very challenging to change a negative attitude when it is deeply ingrained in someone’s personality. Much of the time, though, people feel downcast at work due to situational factors that can be managed or adjusted, such as:
- Feeling undervalued and unappreciated, causing disengagement
- Too much work or too little time to complete required tasks
- Poor leadership that creates a toxic culture
- Boredom stemming from the lack of challenging, interesting work
Pessimism is bad for the bottom line.
Who wants to work in a negative, depressive environment? Being gloomy and cheerless is detrimental to the entire organization. It eventually affects everything from engagement to productivity and even impacts employee retention. Combating negativity isn’t an impossible challenge, but it requires some finesse and strategic intervention.
Follow these seven expert tips to deal with negativity in your workplace:
- Align everyone with the company’s overall direction.
People feel empowered when they know that they are an important part of a larger initiative. When employees understand and embrace the organization’s vision, mission, and values, they’re in a better position to make contributions that foster positivity.
- Foster interaction.
Too much isolation provides a catalyst for stress and frustration. Remote and hybrid work schedules can thwart camaraderie so find ways to host fun, collaborative activities. Volunteer projects and periodic team outings, whether virtual or in-person, can lighten the mood while reminding people that they’re a valued part of the organization.
- Encourage people to offer opinions and make decisions.
Everyone wants to feel that they have influence over their own jobs. When possible and appropriate, create opportunities for people to express their opinions about workplace policies and procedures, too. Areas such as work hours, pay, benefits, overtime, dress codes, office location, job requirements, and working conditions are driving factors for every employee.
- Be generous with praise and rewards.
People have a way of living up or down to expectations, so when you assume excellent performance, they’re more likely to deliver it. When employees deliver rock-star results, show your sincere appreciation for their efforts. Recognize excellent performance regularly, whether it’s through recognition lunches (online or in person), group emails, hand-written thank you notes, and/or gift cards to favorite shops or restaurants.
- Focus on growth and development.
Training, opportunities for promotions, and cross-training are visible signs of an organization’s commitment to its staff. Demonstrate your dedication to employee development by working with each team member to create a career path that aligns with their goals, talents, and interests.
- Counsel the nay-sayers.
Every organization has those perpetual wet blankets. Their negativity affects everyone around them and often detracts from an otherwise positive, robust workplace culture. Recognize that these folks may not be a good fit in the long-term. Companies are dynamic and their needs change over time.
- Accentuate the positive.
The most effective weapon against negativity is positivity. Strive to make an optimistic, helpful, and healthy attitude part of everything you do. Hire cooperative people who light up the room and choose vendors who enjoy and care about their work. You’ll find that workplace negativity is a lot weaker than you thought it was.
If workplace negativity is affecting morale and draining productivity, The HR Team is here with the valuable guidance you need. For more than 25 years, we’ve been helping companies develop customized employee engagement strategies that work for their unique cultures. Please contact our experts to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.