Making Workplaces Happier by Curtailing Workplace Negativity

Making Workplaces Happier by Curtailing Workplace Negativity


Having a positive employer brand is critical than ever. Happy employees can do wonders but workplace negativity, if gone unchecked, can strip people of their dignity and affect employee morale insidiously. That’s never good for business. Therefore, it is important to understand how traditional and modern approaches can work together to create a healthy working environment which can help you and your company achieve accelerated success.

“In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters most to your people.” – Julie Bevacqua

It is important for any successful business that the workforce is happy, and they feel positive about the work culture. Employees are the linchpin of the troupe and nowadays leading companies strive to cultivate a working environment that makes employees feel confident and driven to take on new challenges and constantly deliver the best. Happy employees can do wonders and there is a consistently excellent retention level for such systems.

A new report from EVERFI finds that negative stress is overwhelmingly common in the workplace, as well as high rates of toxic and negative culture. Proper training and leadership play an important role in promoting a positive workplace culture.

48 percent of survey respondents accept that the toxic work culture increases stress among the employees and it automatically affects the healthy working environment. Click To Tweet

The question arises – how can you tell if your work environment is healthy or not? Well, discontent can be seen in member responses to post events, interdepartmental coordination, openness for new things and individual performance. As human resource professionals, it is our responsibility to help create a positive work environment to nurture employees and help them achieve milestones together.

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Then why not ‘kill two birds with one stone?’

Preventing workplace negativity leads to Happy Employees. Let’s discuss how we can curtail negativity in the workplace and improve employee productivity.

Set Clear Objectives and Avoid Multitasking

Clarity on goals is very important because goals provide people with the drive to do the best they can do. If you are working on certain projects without understanding what you want to achieve or what you need to contribute, you can never expect positive results. Projects can take on more meaning and purpose if initiated with a goal in sight.

Setting clear goals for employees is the most important part of creating a positive work culture. Even if you plan a lot of activities or add perks, if workers do not have guidance on tasks they need to perform, they would never be satisfied and the deadlines would always stress them.

Talking about deadlines, companies have now started to make efficient use of resources and are striving to make multitasking effective for workers. However, they need to recognize that it will be more effective if the employee is focused and is consistent with the organisational goals. Also, having consistency in decision-making will provide creative energy to employees and allow management to evaluate their success. We must ensure they share their dream of what they want to achieve and help them in getting there. We need to make the expectations transparent so that people feel responsible for the decisions they have made in order to achieve their goals.

Managers should motivate teams to plan things before implementing any project and should always inspire them to remain committed and work for their achievement.

Setting clear targets would allow organisations to navigate discussions around performance management and provide clarity to both individuals and businesses and help in financial gain. Click To Tweet

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Giving Employee’s Freedom to Decide and Showing Faith

In one of the articles by Michael E. Kossler, he very beautifully explained the concept of freedom within the framework. He has explained it using two defining parameters:

  • Freedom is about believing/trusting our workforce that they will act or make a decision and would do the right thing keeping company values and credibility in mind.
  • On the other hand, as per the traditional method of unbending policies and procedures, this system sets rules for the workforce telling them what they can and cannot do, the outcome can be either positive or negative.

I believe both the concepts are right if used carefully under the guidance of managers who understand the concept of working within the system, while also giving workforce flexibility to work in a conventional environment.

Encourage Them and Create a Stress-free Environment

To promote a positive and healthy work environment, the manager must “Blaze a Trail” because energy always flows from the top. A leader’s emotional presence is crucial, and he must communicate effectively with the team. It is important to construct a positive culture and foster communication that facilitates individual performance.  A manager must consider his team’s basic values and establish a balanced approach between results, personal development and emotional front.

According to a recent report, it is found that if a leader deals with any type of stress or anxiety and impacts their behaviour, this can affect the entire company. This also leads to an increase in employee turnover as employees turn to a better environment and guidance. It was surveyed that stressed leaders do not lead their team effectively, which results in employee dissatisfaction that ultimately impacts the culture of the organisation.

Giving them the opportunity to secure the benefits of their hard work and recognizing it through “Reward and Recognition”

We all love being pampered and appreciated; this is fundamental human nature. “Reward and Recognition” is a very conventional and traditional way of motivating the workforce and promoting high performance.

In today’s competitive environment where every organisation is contending to recruit and retain the “Best Talent”, creating a substantive culture of recognition is becoming increasingly important to make employees feel valued.

Each organisation must have a consistent appreciation program that recognizes workers for their contributions and they will always go the extra mile to meet the deadlines and proactively participate in the work to achieve the company’s desired goals.

“What really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.” –Specialist in Behavioural Science Dr Ashley Whillans from the Harvard Business School

Reward and Recognition (R&R) programs should be developed with an objective perspective and should cover the entire department, as each one plays a very important role in organisational development. When we follow an R&R program and encourage individual feedback and good behaviour and exchange ‘Thank You’ cards on meeting specified deadlines or targets, share motivational messages, shout outs from the managers and peers, it helps create a solid culture of appreciation.

Rollout ‘Internal Job Postings’ Actively

Companies should make it a practice to roll out IJP “Internal Job Postings’ ‘ at least once or twice in a year. It will inspire current team members to choose higher roles/positions and make them feel  valued.

I hope everyone is aware of the concept of IJP, in simple terms we give an opportunity to the existing employees to opt for the higher position after clearing certain levels of assessment and panel interviews.

This helps to inspire existing employees for skills acquisitions, and they perform better for career advancement. Besides this, it also helps in reducing cost per hire and improving efficiency. Nonetheless, it is very important to create a methodical framework that helps avoid arbitrary choice and analyse all sundries without giving anyone unfair preferential treatment.

Give Good Appraisals and Build Performance or Retention Bonus Schemes

Effective Appraisals always motivate employees, but nowadays it has become an old phenomenon where renowned companies have left this traditional method behind by providing reports or one-on-one reviews and performance catch-ups to appreciate each employee contribution. Several companies are using 360-degree appraisal systems which can be beneficial if used correctly, or it can affect the entire organisation immediately because some people are reluctant to participate, and do not feel comfortable in receiving the feedback.

HR managers need to have a committed appraisal conversation with the employees and need to understand or address the individual’s success and development along with the challenges. It will help the management to evaluate them… Click To Tweet

If we want to empower the workforce, let’s accept the fact that money has a very important role to play and appraisal percentages must be decided to keep monetary growth in mind. Employees also seek some benefits apart from the wage, such as some incentives, allowances, and bonuses for all departments.

Stop and Address Negative Gossip

You will always find some perpetrators involved in workplace gossip. In terms of trust, productivity, groupism, discontent, attrition and workplace culture, negative gossip can cause so many issues.

It is important to address this issue by making employees understand that negative gossiping not only affects others or the workplace environment, but it can affect their behaviour as well and the consequences can lead to warning letters for disciplinary action or even termination in serious cases.

In order to immediately STOP omnipresent negative gossip, we must communicate with the whole team and help them understand its ramifications. It is also a good idea to involve them in some motivational sessions or L&D training and promote positivity by working with a  more focused approach and creating innovative ideas, which can positively impact their career growth within the company.

Help Them Achieve Work-life Balance

A healthy mind can do wonders. This is only possible if employees can balance work and personal lives and if the employer helps them achieve and maintain that balance.

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If we provide employees with a flexible working environment and employee-friendly policies, it is easier for them to achieve work-life balance. These days many companies are offering benefits like flexible working hours, work from home, engagement activities, Mediclaim benefits for the family, Sodexo vouchers, crèche facility, paternity leave, sabbatical leave, forced holidays, etc and trying hard to promote a healthy and happy working environment free of dirty politics, favouritism and stress.

In order to balance organisational needs and employee satisfaction, we must conduct occasional meetings and e-sat surveys in order to understand employee perspective in a much better way and plan accordingly. Click To Tweet

The workforce of the companies with such philosophy is more successful, creative and happier with the focused approach. Also, establishing a balance on its own is also essential as an individual.

Promote Collaboration Between Departments and Encourage Healthy Competition

There is no doubt that competition within the team inspires people to perform to the best of their ability, but it also causes people to lose sight of the organisation’s common goal. When people work with a mindset of getting maximum benefits and to become a center of attraction, they start working individually instead of working together. This ultimately affects the overall performance of the team.

As Andrew Carneige puts it, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

We must, therefore, encourage the team as a leader/manager to work together with mutual respect for each other. The team members must value each other and always think about whether it will be fruitful for the company before taking any action. We don’t say it’s wrong to work for individual growth, but it shouldn’t affect the team.

The manager must respect both performers and non-performers and strive to inculcate an atmosphere where team members encourage each other to succeed with the same enthusiasm and do not feel threatened. The manager must also ensure that the team maintains balance by providing positive feedback to help each employee feel a sense of achievement and receive public recognition.

To conclude, I would like to say that healthy competition would help you to foster a positive working environment and help average performers get out of their shell. They will try to be more creative, work harder and would ultimately work towards the organisation’s common goals.

Recommendations and Suggestions – Round Up

  • The manager must “Blaze a Trail” to encourage a positive and healthy working environment as energy always flows from the top.
  • Employees must be treated well and must have the freedom to express themselves and must function in a positive, open and transparent management system.
  • Employee centric organisations always have better retention rates, so we must have flexible and employee-friendly practices.
  • Working towards the skill enhancement of the workforce by organizing training and engagement programs to promote fun at the workplace.

To bring it all together, I tried to divvy up the avenues of how the strategies, traditional and modern approaches can work together to create a healthy working environment and how it can serve to better engage the workforce.

Creating a healthy work environment is not hard, instituting improvements in the organisational process requires a little functionality. We need to work with the vision to create a large corporate culture that keeps everyone happy and encourage employees to work cohesively and to value organisational ends.


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