You can talk all you want to about creating a corporate culture and building employee engagement. But if you’re starting out with an environment of negativity, you need to banish that first…and fast!
The signs of a negative workplace are pretty easy to spot, including low morale, poor teamwork and high turnover. If you’re an HR manager, you might also hear employee complaints and learn about problems during exit interviews. The most insidious thing about workplace negativity is that it’s highly contagious. However, it can be contained and even cured. And the good news is that a positive attitude catches fire even faster.
First, get to the root of the problem. Most often, it’s a lack of confidence, control or community among employees. Then dig deeper – why the lack of confidence or control? Maybe the company is performing poorly. Fear of downsizing shakes employees’ confidence in management. It also makes them feel that they’re not in control. Lack of community often rises from poor leadership.
Next, follow these suggestions for avoiding and/or minimizing workplace negativity:
- Involve employees in decisions that directly affect how they do their jobs.
- Give workers a forum to express their opinions, voice concerns and ask questions.
- Always be fair and consistent when implementing and enforcing workplace policies.
- Keep employees informed about corporate directions and decisions in a timely manner.
- Provide appropriate training for personal growth and professional advancement.
- Encourage participation in activities and projects that support your company’s mission.
- Recognize and reward achievements and contributions.
You won’t turn things around overnight. But for as long as it took to get everyone under that storm cloud, it should take a lot less time to clear the air.