12 Tips to Combat Negativity in Your Organization

It takes a watchful eye to combat negativity around the workplace. On a personal level, you can survive at your job, or you can thrive at it. The difference boils down to one word: attitude. A positive attitude can make a bad job tolerable or a good one great. It can make you happier, healthier and more productive. The same applies on an organizational level.

And, as a Human Resources professional, you’re better equipped to examine morale in your company. In HR, you’re plugged in to every department. While a department manager is essential in keeping employees engaged and positive, their influence is generally limited to the department they run.

You, on the other hand, can establish and heed early warning signals that all is not well. You receive employee complaints, do exit interviews with employees who leave, and know the reputation of your organization in your community. To combat negativity, you can be an effective line of defense and a warning signal that something is wrong and changes need to be made. 

If you’re finding a stressed-out workforce that are dwelling on shortcomings, anticipating the worst for everything, and justifying negative behavior by saying that they’re just “being realistic”, it’s time to turn things around!

Here are twelve tips to combat negativity and create a more positive atmosphere that you and your management team can do starting today:

  1. Climate: More smiles, approving nods, and eye contact from you and from each other.
  2. Input: Give your high-performance people more challenging, interesting, and visible projects. When they’re ready, give them more responsibility and groom them to become the next generation of management.
  3. Output: Give more attention to those who are doing exceptional work and reward them with your recognition.
  4. Feedback: Give more positive feedback, reinforcement, and praise. Give less criticism.
  5. Assume universal “improvability”: Everyone can upgrade their performance. It may be a slow process, but it is possible. There are very few total lost causes in the workplace. But for those that are, a proper and fair disciplinary or termination process will show other employees that management takes problems seriously.
  6. Demonstrate confidence: Show your staff that you think they are capable by delegating more challenging assignments, more freedom, one-on-one coaching, more involvement in planning and decisions.
  7. Engage in ongoing dialog: Have an open door, listen, provide full information, and provide feedback on performance.
  8. Set high standards: Setting high standards shows that you trust your staff to do well. This encourages them to rise to the occasion.
  9. Offer praise regularly: Even if the job isn’t done perfect, offer praise liberally. People need praise to bolster their self-image.
  10. Criticize the work, not the person: Zero in on the performance, not the person.
  11. Encourage self- and career-development: Help others to strengthen their performance, capabilities, and career progress.
  12. Watch personal biases: Be careful not to show preferences for one staff/person over another based on dress, personalities, political views, etc.

High employee morale is absolutely key to your organization’s well-being and your personal success. When employee morale is high, so are productivity, quality, and even customer loyalty. When employee morale is low, the only things that are high are employee turnover, absenteeism, and safety violations. You absolutely can’t afford to maintain that environment!

However, given your position in HR, you can use these tips above to combat negativity. You’ll bolster employee confidence in the company and their morale will rise. Finally, pass this on to any manager you think might need a bit of a refresher on generating positivity at work.

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