Turn Around Workplace Negativity to Increase Production

Posted March 28, 2016

Unfortunately, every workplace will go through a period of discontent.

If you sense that negative vibes are starting to creep in, it's important that you nip them in the bud before they start to spread and impact productivity.

Find out the cause

Start by determining the root cause of your employees' negativity. Take some time to sit down with a few employees one-on-one to find out what is driving discontent. Try to get honest feedback and make all your employees feel like their voices are being heard. Listen carefully to figure out what is really bothering your workers.

It is important that you avoid getting drawn into an argument. People with a negative mindset are frustrated and thrive on conflict. Instead, point out areas where steps are being taken and areas where you agree with their argument.

Whether it's feeling overworked, unappreciated or any other reason, it’s important to address workers' concerns.

Addressing employees negativity directly

In addition to looking into the root causes of negativity, make an effort to reach out to employees to stop the cycle of negativity.

One way to soothe employees is to get them to understand the source of their frustration. Ask an overly negative employee to put himself or herself in your shoes. Ask what they would do to solve the problem. This helps generate solutions, and gets the employee to start thinking about solutions, rather than complaining.

Make sure you aren't giving negative employees extra attention. This rewards bad behavior and sends the wrong signal to positive employees.

Taking actionable steps

It is important that you follow up on any actionable items that come up in your one-on-one conversations. If you don’t, you risk losing credibility and fanning the flames of negativity.

In order to keep employees from adopting a victim mentality, make sure they get credit and are rewarded during the good times. During bad times, involve them in developing solutions so they can feel like they are a part of the growth and recovery.

Be careful not to let someone's negative attitude lower your expectations of them. Often, high-performing employees can be frustrated by their current situation or outlook.

Also, don't stop asking negative employees to pitch in during busy times because you don’t want to give them something to complain about. If you don’t ask them to pitch in, you're punishing less vocal employees who aren't complaining.

If negative employees aren't following procedure or rules in protest, don't ignore the behavior to avoid dealing with the pushback. Employees won't change if they're not asked to.

Keeping negativity out by smart hiring

Often, negativity arises because a company hired someone with a negative outlook on life or their career. This source of negativity can be avoided by hiring workers who are solutions-focused, rather than focused on placing blame. Make sure your interview includes questions on how candidates dealt with negative events at past employers.

At Ambassador, we work tirelessly to supply our clients with positive, solution-focused workers who fit into their company culture. If your company needs a custom staffing solution, contact one of the leading employment firms in the South today.