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How to Manage and Minimize Workplace Negativity

Unhappy employees lead to unhappy customers. While it can be easy to overlook an employee blowing off steam on an off day, it should be taken seriously. When negativity begins to fester within one employee, it can quickly spread throughout their team, department, and beyond. In order to keep your business running smoothly, use these tips to minimize workplace negativity.

The first step to minimizing workplace negativity is to acknowledge and understand it’s occurring. When you hear someone say they’re having a bad day, don’t brush it off. Instead, dive in. Acknowledge their grievance and either offer a solution or simply let them know you value their feelings and opinions. If you’re a step removed from employees, task your managers with reporting on when negative comments occur and prepare them to address these comments. However, you shouldn’t solely rely on managers to report. We recommend periodically distributing an anonymous workplace survey to gauge employee satisfaction. A free, popular survey site is SurveyMonkey.


Popular employee satisfaction survey questions include the following:

  • Is work enjoyable for you?
  • Do you feel valued in the workplace?
  • Does management seem invested in work and team members?
  • How happy are you at work?
  • Do you feel like your job responsibilities are clear and well defined?

The next step to minimize workplace negativity is to understand the causes. It’s important to learn whether negativity revolves around outside factors, such as home life and health, or workplace factors. No matter the cause, being proactive on these factors are signs of a great employer. For example, if you learn that there is a lot of negativity in the workplace revolving around terrible traffic each day, consider offering flexible work hours. If you allow employees to switch their work hours from 8-5 to 7:30 to 4:30, does this relieve their traffic woes? Picking up on these shared grievances is a great way to quickly turn around morale and improve employee satisfaction.

Another way to minimize workplace negativity is to create clear expectations for employees. It’s reported that 50% of employees don’t fully know what is expected of them. This sense of confusion can fester and create doubt and uncertainty. By letting employees know exactly what you expect of their role, it’s a win-win.  With clear expectations, you can both acknowledge milestones and recognize when goals are achieved. With an extra sense of accomplishment, thoughts of negativity and self-doubt will start to disappear. 

Overall, minimizing workplace negativity is key to business growth. Happy employees are more productive and have a positive effect on your customers. To address negativity in your workplace, take direct and proactive approaches to make a change.


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