The health of your business can be threatened by internal and external factors, and workplace negativity is particularly detrimental. When employees harbor a negative outlook, it can lead to a loss of morale and motivation. That’s why it’s important to uncover the reasons behind this negativity and alleviate discouragement before it spreads.
The causes of negativity in the workplace
Your first step as a manager should be to identify the cause of this workplace negativity. According to Susan M. Heathfield of The Balance Careers, one of the most common reasons for negativity at work is an excessive workload. If employees are struggling to complete the work that they are assigned, it can definitely sour their outlook, especially if they don’t believe they are receiving the recognition that they should.
Your employees also might have concerns about long-term job security or your management style. Aaron Skonnard of Inc.com says that employees who are kept out of the loop on large policy or organizational changes feel powerless, thus increasing their anxiety and negativity.
Heathfield suggests another reason why employees might have a negative outlook is a lack of challenge or innovation in what they do every day. It is easy for employees who do the same thing day in and day out with little social interaction to grow disenchanted with their jobs.
Method one: Listen to your employees
One of the most effective ways to combat workplace negativity is to listen to your employees. Heathfield warns that if employees feel that they don’t have any input into how things work at your company, they will develop a negative outlook about that company. Thus, if you involve them in conversations and listen to their thoughts, they’ll feel included and supported.
Daniel Keller of LinkedIn explains that communication can be developed in a number of ways. You can designate a human resource employee who can communicate with your other employees and alert you to any pain points. As a manager, you can directly speak with your employees about any challenges facing them. Keller suggests that something as simple as creating a suggestion box can make a big difference to your employees.
Method two: Be transparent
Skonnard identifies complete transparency as one of the best ways to keep your employees positive about coming into work. The more that employees know about what will affect their work, the less anxious they will be.
Ruth Mayhew of the Houston Chronicle suggests that employers host regular meetings to keep employees up to date on any changes that will affect them. These meetings provide a place for employees to raise any questions or concerns that they might have. It’s also a time for your employees to share ideas or input on how the company operates.
Heathfield states that being honest with your employees will also grant them new insights. For example, say an employee feels they are overburdened with more work than their coworkers and are being treated unfairly. Demonstrating how work is distributed throughout the company might show them that this is not the case — everyone else is working just as much.
Method three: Allow for innovation and growth
According to Skonnard, employees who feel they have no room to grow or innovate are likely to become dissatisfied. That’s why it’s so important to offer such opportunities to your employees.
Successful businesses rarely remain stagnant when faced with a changing world. Your employees could provide key insights on how to make your company stand out among competitors in your field.
Skonnard reports that it’s also important to break away from monotony at work and inject some fun and culture into the workplace. Keller recommends group-building events and activities, such as company parties or regular happy hours, to help combat some of the stress at work and create a more unified dynamic between the members of your team.
Negativity in the workplace can grow to be an incurable problem for your business if not addressed. Preventing that negativity from spreading will keep your business and your employees happy and healthy.