Minimizing Workplace Negativity

Nothing affects employee morale more insidiously than persistent workplace negativity. It saps the energy of your organization and diverts critical attention from work and performance. Negativity can occur in the attitude, outlook, and talk of one department member, or in a crescendo of voices responding to a workplace decision or event.

As a manager or employer you are closely in touch with employees throughout the company. You receive employee complaints, do exit interviews with employees who leave, and know the reputation of your organization in your community.

You can monitor the discussions on employee intranets, manage the appraisal and 360-degree feedback process, and coach managers in the appropriate staff treatment. This information helps you learn to identify the symptoms of negativity before its morale-busting consequences damage your workplace. It will also assist you in preventing and curtailing workplace negativity.

Remember, the best way to combat workplace negativity is to keep it from occurring in the first place.  Keeping the previous statement in mind, SWHRC presents 9 tips to help you minimize workplace negativity.

1. Control Over Their Job

Provide opportunities for people to make decisions about and control and influence their job. The single most frequent cause of workplace negativity is traceable to a manager or the organization making a decision about a person’s work without their input. Almost any decision that excludes the input of the person doing the work is perceived as negative.

2. Opportunity to Express Opinions

Make opportunities available for people to express their opinion about workplace policies and procedures. Recognize the impact of changes in such areas as work hours, pay, benefits, assignment of overtime hours, company dress codes, office location, job requirements, and working conditions. These factors are closest to the mind, heart and physical presence of each individual. Changes to these can cause serious negative responses. Provide timely, proactive responses to questions and concerns.

3. Use Consistent Fair Treatment

Treat people as adults with fairness and consistency. Develop and publicize workplace policies and procedures that organize work effectively. Apply them consistently. 

4. Provide Trust and Respect

Treat your employees as if they are trustworthy and worthy of your respect because they are. Start from a position of trust when you hire a new employee. Verify their performance, truthfulness, and contribution over time to confirm your original position. Do not start from a position of believing that people must earn your trust. That positioning ensures that negativity will take over in your workplace. Employees have radar machines and they are constantly scoping out their work environment. If you don’t trust them they will know you don’t.

5. Target Punishment and Rules

Do not create rules for all employees when just a few people are violating the norms. You want to minimize the number of rules directing the behavior of adult people at work. Treat people as adults and they will usually live up to your expectations, and their own expectations.

6. Be Inclusive

Since each person deserves to have access to the same information, share it as a whole. Provide the context for decisions and communicate effectively and constantly. You cannot over-communicate if your desire is to reduce negativity and gain the confidence and support from your employees.

7. Provide Opportunity for Growth

Afford people the opportunity to grow and develop. Training, perceived opportunities for promotions, lateral moves for development, and cross-training are visible signs of an organization’s commitment to staff. Make your commitment to employee growth and development by creating mutually developed career path plans for every employee.

8. Be a Leader

Provide appropriate leadership and a strategic framework, including mission, vision, values, and goals. People want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. If they understand the direction, and their part in making the desired outcomes happen, they can contribute more. People make better decisions for your business when you empower them with the information they need to make decisions that strategically align with your overall direction.

9. Give Recognition

Provide appropriate rewards and recognition so people feel their contribution is valued. The power of appropriate rewards and recognition for a positive workplace is remarkable. Suffice to say, reward and recognition are two of the most powerful tools an organization can use to buoy staff morale.

Thank you all once again for taking time out of your day to read SW HR Consulting’s article of the week! We hope you have continued success and stay tuned for more HR tips and also, enjoy your upcoming Veterans Day!

To learn more on how to calculate these amounts, please feel free to reach-out to us here at SW HR Consultingat 702-979-2119 as we would be glad to partner with you through these important steps.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at or 702-979-2119.

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