Many factors can affect employee morale, but nothing as impactful and insidious than persistent workplace negativity. It leads to lower employee productivity and saps the energy of an organization. What’s also worrying is that it can happen anytime. Negativity in the workplace can occur in the attitude, outlook and talk of a department member or co-worker. It can also happen during a rising crescendo of voices or people that are responding to a workplace announcement or management decision.
According to Gary S. Topchik, the author of Managing Workplace Negativity, this issue has become an increasing problem in the workplace. In a Management Review article, Topchik stated that negativity is often the result of a loss of confidence, control, or community. Knowing what people are negative about is the first step in solving the problem.
In order to minimize negativity in the workplace, managers and human resources professionals should keep their fingers on the pulse of the organization in order to sense negativity amongst employees. Keeping in close contact with the employees and providing them various opportunities and avenues to speak up would also help. Some would offer their opinion about factors or management decisions that made them feel wary or negative, while others may voice their concerns through employee complaints. Exit interviews for those who are leaving the organization, regardless of reason, would also be a good source of feedback.
Sometimes discussions on employee Intranet sites, as well as feedback given during a 360 degree feedback process will yield information about topics or items which spurred negative behaviors or negative thinking in the workplace. The data collected can then be used to address negativity in the workplace.
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