Workplace negativity can have a very damaging impact on your organization. It deters employee morale and affects the energy of your workforce, resulting in poor performance. And, the most worrisome part is that it spreads like a wildfire and can engulf your whole organization before you know. Workplace negativity can arise from a number of factors including outlook, attitude, gossip about an employee or any event or decision leading to disappointment. Fortunately there are effective ways to deal with workplace negativity. Human resource professionals have a better understanding about the reasons behind workplace negativity as they are constantly interacting with the employees, hearing out their complaints and grievances, and conducting exit interviews. Thus, their active role in figuring out the root cause and taking appropriate steps to neutralize the work environment can be extremely helpful for organizations.
Here are a few tips that could help your organization deal with workplace negativity:
- Analyze Negativity
Resist the temptation of jumping into conclusions. You may have one or two “problem employees” and it’s always easy to assume that they are the cause of negativity. However, it’s important to analyze the situation carefully or you may end up losing a talented employee. Try to find out the root cause of negativity. An employee could be exhibiting negative behaviors due to some legitimate reasons like he or she is suffering from any illness or personal issues. Poor leadership or company policy can also be the cause. Thus, instead of blaming random employees, find out the exact reason for workplace negativity.
2. Confront Negative Behaviors
Addressing negative behavior could be dicey. You need to find out an effective way to do so. If you are too straight forward in confronting, it may lead to increased tensions. And, beating around the bushes may augment the toxic behaviors. You need to adopt a tactical approach for confrontation. One to one discussion with employees could be helpful where you can calmly explain to them what’s wrong. Try to keep things relaxed to prevent a flare up.
3. Be Cautious While Hiring
While hiring new employees, you should be cautious about choosing the applicants. Analyze the candidatescarefully and eliminate the ones that look like they could turn into a “problem employee” in future. Look for warning signs during interviews. Asking the candidates what they think about their previous employer is a great way of uncovering toxic people. Overly harsh feedback could mean that the employee may spread negativity in workplace due to his behavior or attitude.
4. Take Appropriate Measures
If left unchecked for a long time, workplace negativity can severely damage your organization’s productivity and culture as it spreads too fast. Whenever you spot signs of negativity in your organization, take prompt and appropriate measures to contain it. Address the issue without making any delays. Encourage open communications and let your employees know that they can talk to you anytime about any issue. Make them feel that you are actually willing to listen to their problem. If your employees know that you’re concerned about them, they may open up with you about their grievances before the feelings of bitterness and resentment go too far.
5. Fight with a Positive Attitude
Your office culture and environment should be brimming with positivity. Positive attitudes and enthusiasm should be the building block of professional relationships. Positivity is also an excellent tool for combating workplace negativity. Encourage positivity at every level of your organization. Positive outlook among employees helps in building trust and a strong team that produces excellent results. Promoting positive attitude and behavior in an organization can help in suppressing negative and toxic behaviors.
A positive work environment boosts employee satisfaction, productivity and engagement. And, negativity in the workplace does exactly the opposite. As a manager or employer, you need to identify the warning signs and deal with workplace negativity promptly before it plagues your organization.