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Five tips to cure employee negativity

by , 19 December 2013
Negativity in your team won't only affect the morale of everyone, but will also impact the performance of your team. It could even lead to employees resigning. Don't let negativity disrupt your business. Deal with negative employees by using these five tips.

Do you have a negativity problem on your hands?

That may be the case if you tick any of these boxes…

Ten signs there's a negativity problem in your company

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management says you must look for these signs as that'll show you might have a problem with negativity in your team. The signs will depend on the source and severity of the negativity:

  1. High staff turnover
  2. Absence from work
  3. 'Go slows' or employees cutting work hours short
  4. Non-performance
  5. Low mood or energy levels
  6. Negative language, body language and talk in common areas
  7. Lack of commitment and disinterest in company initiatives, events, or even in finding solutions to problems or addressing opportunities
  8. Blatant sabotage of the organisation and its efforts
  9. Employees taking shortcuts in their tasks
  10. Unethical behaviour

Luckily, it's not all doom and gloom if you have negative employees.

Use these five tips to deal with a negative workforce

Tip #1: Step up communication with staff

Make sure you maintain open, honest and consistent communication in all relationships. By communicating you can determine what the problems are.

Ask employees to suggest what you can do to address their problems and concerns.

Remember, communication builds trust and relationships.

Make sure you address your employee's uncertainties or unhappiness when you communicate. Ensure you don't leave them with more questions and negativity than before.

Use face-to-face, interactive communication to build trust and relationships and address negativity – memos and emails won't solve the problem.

Tip #2: Provide a vision and purpose

Counter negativity by giving employees a vision and a purpose that's inspirational and shared by all.
If you involve your employees in developing the vision, you'll create positive energy, common understanding and a focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Make sure your employees know what the purpose of the company is (why it exists) and where it's heading.

Tip #3: Break up cliques

Identify groups of people (the clique) that gossip and feed each other with negative thoughts and stories.

They normally group themselves together in common areas or during common breaks. They might even start having their group chats during company time.

Consider different rosters for smoking or breaks, assign people to different projects or bring in positive people from the outside to break up the clique.

Tip #4: Structure meaningful jobs

Ensure employees think their jobs are meaningful and exciting and provide them with an opportunity to learn and grow.

Give them new challenges and opportunities if that's what they need, or simply make them feel equipped to do their jobs.

Tip #5: Reward, recognise and praise outstanding performance

Your performance assessments, reward and recognition must be fair and consistent. If not, it could be one of the most significant reasons for negativity in your team.

Assess what's demotivating in your company by conducting climate surveys. If performance management, reward and recognition are working against you, for example, then ensure you revise your programmes and adopt best practices.

Remember, negativity can breed negativity. If you don't address the negativity problem, it can snowball and become part of your company culture. Make use of these tips to curb it.

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