Workplace negativity is, unfortunately, a reality of managing employees and working alongside other individuals. While there will be some not-so-great moments on any team, there are steps you can take to create a culture that favors positivity. Here are our eight tips to minimize negativity in the workspace and address moments of conflict when they arise on occasion.
How to Minimize Workplace Negativity
1) Establish a Growth-Focused Culture
One reality of managing employees is that people who feel supported and guided in their careers are less likely to bring negative energy to work. Thankfully, this means that the more you create a culture that provides professional and personal growth opportunities, the more satisfied your employees are likely to be on the job. With that said, you can provide your team with opportunities to grow within your company by offering training courses. You can learn about highly recommended websites for upskilling and reskilling here.
2) Make Space for Expressing Opinions
It is not uncommon for companies to suffer from workplace negativity when they do not have procedures in place for employees to share feedback openly and honestly. By implementing these means, coworkers are less likely to gossip or develop resentment towards one another.
New employee surveys
It’s important to get to know your employees. Sending out an employee survey during the first month of employment and then again at 90 days into their stay with the company can help. In addition, it will provide you with feedback from a fresh perspective.
Annual, biannual, or quarterly employee engagement surveys
Employee engagement surveys are a great way to collect large amounts of feedback from your employees. These are often quite comprehensive, focusing on anything and everything that could be impacting employee satisfaction, retention rates, or other critical areas of operation.
Because they are moderately shorter surveys, Pulse surveys take less time and are more efficient than employee engagement surveys. They’re often used to track progress on key initiatives.
Employee Suggestion Box
A suggestion box provides an anonymous method to ensure employees can reach out without worrying about their feedback having their names attached.
An exit interview can serve many purposes. It allows HR staff to get valuable insight into why people choose specific paths after leaving, receiving candid comments on both work environment (or lack thereof) factors that played significant roles during employment tenure.
There are plenty of websites online that offer template employee surveys. If you’re looking for a low-cost option for your business, we recommend starting with one of these two options:
This free online service offers companies 30+ HR survey templates with customizable options, as well as dashboard reports, and 24/7 support.
A pretty popular survey platform, Survey Monkey, provides companies with 20+ HR-specific survey templates and 360+ Question Bank questions, as well as anonymity settings, and API integrations to connect your employee data with your records system. Their plans start at just $25/mo.
3) Treat Employees with Respect
This may seem obvious, but some of the hidden pain points can often come from the micromanagement or distrust of employees. The more you trust your employees to do the right thing, the more likely they are to make you proud with their day-to-day actions. Approaching each employee’s relationship with inherent trust and respect signals that they’re valued and appreciated.
4) Communicate Expectations Clearly and Regularly
Sometimes, workplace negativity arises simply because employees and managers have different values and expectations. Having a process for clearly communicating all workplace rules, procedures, and values ensures that everyone is on the same page. Businesses can boost communication by adding tech tools to assist with project management, especially for remote workers. Learn more about HR tech tools we recommend to help with communication here.
5) Acknowledge Employees’ Efforts
There are likely dozens of examples of employees succeeding and doing the right thing daily in every company. When these efforts consistently go unrecognized, employees may start to feel unappreciated and frustrated. To avoid this outcome, make sure you’re paying attention to each person’s wins and provide recognition on occasion. You can read more tips on effective employee recognition here.
How to Address Workplace Negativity
1) Seek to Understand the Root of Conflict
If workplace negativity does arise within your organization, the first step forward is to have a conversation to understand the root of the conflict. Employees don’t typically become negative or express hostility for no reason. Try to uncover what’s going wrong or which of the preventative measures above you’re having trouble succeeding. The more unbiased you can be for this conversation, the better the outcome you’re likely to achieve.
2) Document Your Discussions
After speaking to an employee, make sure to recap the conversation and have them acknowledge the discussion—and any outcomes decided—in writing. Creating this paper trial for the issue and its path forward is essential for HR purposes and tracking progress over time. Plus, you won’t have to rely on your memory of the conversation if you need to reference it in the future.
3) Follow Up
Lastly, make sure to set a time to follow up with employees over time. It’s often a good idea to make a note of a follow-up time immediately after wrapping up the initial chat. Leave a note in your calendar to check in after a specific amount of time (like a month, for example) and have another conversation to monitor progress.
Hopefully, these eight tips help you transform your organizational culture and nip any negativity in the bud before it takes hold. When in doubt, the more you can do to prevent negative attitudes and behaviors in the workplace, the better.
To learn about getting assistance with HR, payroll, and benefits for your business, contact Merritt Business Solutions today.