Addressing Negativity in the Workplace – Why it’s Damaging your Reputation and What to do About it

Negativity at work is a real issue that if left unchecked, can cause a whole host of problems for your business. Negativity is contagious (because it’s intoxicatingly easy to be negative about something) plus there’s a certain camaraderie associated with grousing with your work colleagues. Continue reading to learn more about addressing negativity in the workplace.

Something as innocuous as one person bad mouthing an account to someone else can snowball into truly formidable office negativity that has the power to do terrible things to your business and staff. Negativity damages your reputation by impacting on your clients, your profitability and your overall workplace dynamic – and that has the power to do truly terrible things to your bottom line.

Got a problem with employee negativity? At Bramwell Partners, we are HR consulting experts who understand the importance of concise and systematic processes for effective employee management. Partner with us to manage and avoid problems like employee negativity and more.

Call us for a complimentary phone consultation about how we can assist your business with compliance and more on (07) 3630 5695.

How Negativity at Work can Affect your Business

Negativity at work not only creates a toxic working environment and affects your reputation; there are plenty of other consequences that you might not have considered:

  • Morale at work will likely be affected – especially because when people are focusing on what is wrong, it’s a whole lot harder to see what’s right and going well
  • If you don’t do anything about a negative person in your team, you’ll see growing resentment in your business as staff wonder why you’re not doing anything about them (and this resentment might turn towards you!)
  • Higher staff turnover and absenteeism – people don’t like being around a negative environment and may take days off rather than deal with being around a negative team member
  • Teamwork and productivity will suffer – it’s unlikely that your team are going to want to work with a negative person
  • Clients are going to be neglected – if your team are focused on negativity then your clients are going to bear the brunt of the diverted attention (plus, you really don’t want a negative vibe being conveyed to your clients)
  • Your profitability is going to take a hit – when staff are away due to sick days, and when you’re losing staff you won’t see financial results where you want them

How to Manage a Negative Environment

If someone at work (or a few people) are being negative, then it’s time for you to have a chat with them. You need to work quickly because negativity can spread quickly. You need to be clear and outline the things that are happening. Here are some pointers for addressing negativity in the workplace:

  • Be specific — let your team member know exactly what it is that is the issue.
  • Let them know it is a performance issue, and that when they are negative this is disruptive to the team which means they are not contributing to their role and performing their job successfully.
  • Talk about how important it is that their behaviour is considered – and how negativity can affect (and does affect) the whole team.
  • Refer to your company policies on performance and their work contractthis will give you greater leverage and will ensure that your employees take this discussion seriously.
  • Consider that this might be a symptom of some other issue in your employees’ life – so deal with any issues like this on a case by case basis (for example they may be going through a divorce or some other kind of stressor). If there is something that you can assist your employees with, then remind them that help is available.
  • Be consistent – if someone else is similarly negative in the office, you need to administer the same response.

What is Appropriate in the Office?

Every workplace is different, and what is acceptable in one workplace would be entirely unsuitable in another. The point is that you can outline what is acceptable behaviour in your company policies and then ensure that your team walks that line. Your company culture needs to include things like your core values and should outline how negativity and behaviour are expected to go. Important core values include:

  • Respectful behaviour and language at all times
  • Commitment to a high standard of emotional intelligence and behaviour
  • Achievement through teamwork
  • Positivity and proactivity

You can include things like dependability, communication, and professionalism in your job descriptions, and you can have guidelines for employee behaviour in your company policy. You might like to consider making employee behaviour part of your performance evaluation.

What to do if Things do not Improve

It is important as a manager or business owner to diarise any issues that you have in the office and note all instances of negativity in the office. You want to be able to substantiate any claims or issues with negativity – especially if things get to the point of needing to let someone go. Ensure that your diary notes are accurate, factual, concise, specific, professional — and ensure they are devoid of your personal emotions. If you notice that there are ongoing issues with negative performance with a team member, then it’s a good idea to consider having a chat with them.

You don’t have to go it alone, either. Dealing with human resources issues can sometimes take a back seat to bigger issues like client management, but just know that neglecting employee negativity can lead to catastrophe in the future. By partnering with Bramwell Partners, you can ensure that your employee contracts, position descriptions, misconduct policies, performance policies and more are all up to date and current.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business to thrive and rise above negativity. Call us for a complimentary phone consultation about how we can assist your business with compliance and more on (07) 3630 5695.