Negativity is contagious! An employee sharing negative comments and experiences inadvertently fuels their co-workers to do the same. Soon the entire organization can be seething in a dismal attitude. Negativity can destroy the focus, creativity and productivity of your organization. It can motivate employees to look for job opportunities elsewhere, thus decreasing employee retention. It is estimated that turnover costs a company up to twice as much as the position’s salary they are replacing. If there is a negative work atmosphere, chances are the best employees will be those headed out the door first.
AgCareers.com collected information from leading agricultural businesses about hurdles that can quickly impact an organization’s environment. The following general obstacles can be applied to all agribusinesses:
• Joint ventures/acquisitions/mergers
• Rapid company expansion
• Multiple remote locations
• Management communication
• Overall economic environment and how the organization is impacted
• Company benefits
The consensus was that senior management plays an important role in setting the stage on how such areas are managed. If the above areas are not addressed properly they can adversely impact overall employee attitude.
Managing negativity is essential to retain top employees and increase productivity for organizations of any size. High turnover rates may be the only clue that negativity is prominent. Sometimes managers may not be aware of negativity making its way across the office. Employees often talk around the ‘water cooler’ about policies, co-workers, projects and other issues they don’t feel comfortable sharing with their bosses.
Creating a positive work atmosphere starts with managers and leaders. Begin by letting go of any negative opinions you may have about your employees. Approach each of them as a source of unique knowledge with something valuable to contribute to the company. Likewise, keep your opinions on company policies to yourself. For instance, you may not be a fan of your company’s benefits package, but don’t share that with employees you supervise.
Questions to ask
Business leaders and managers need to ask themselves and their employees these questions to quell negativity:
Do employees feel as if what they are doing is important? Are they connected to the organization’s goals?
Do employees understand their role? Have expectations of what is wanted from them been made clear to them?