Wow…that is scary when this employee recruitment expert hears a comment like that from an employee. She is thinking about looking for another job because all the people she works with are a bunch of “downers.” They constantly complain and moan about everything. Nothing ever seems to make them happy. Having dealt with this as an HR Leader, I will say it is a tough situation to deal with BUT deal with it you must! If you don’t, you will see productivity, quality, and customer service suffer.
The first thing I did in this situation was sit down with the leader of the department and ask them what was going on. Why was it like this? Oftentimes, the leader doesn’t do anything to create an atmosphere of “positivity.” They may be the type of person that sees everything negatively themselves. The leader may be the problem, or the leader could have inherited a group of people who are negative and not know what to do about it. First, you have to determine where the negativity started…what is the root cause? If it’s the leader, you need to work with the leader to give them the skills needed or work with them on their outlook. Sometimes, they have no idea they are negative and when brought to their attention change. Other people are inherently negative and will never change. Others are simply being sucked down by all the other negative people and they become negative.
You might also have one person that is the one that constantly complains, and others join in. I have found that if you have a leader or a person like this, you need to confront the person about their behavior. In some cases, you have to be direct to the point of telling them if they don’t like it here, maybe they should look for a new job. This employee retention expert has found that will get the person to shut up and stop spreading negativity. In other cases, I have found that people actually leave. In the worst cases, you have to tell people if their behavior does not change you will exit them from the organization. If they don’t change, you exit them. Very few organizations are willing to do this and the problem never gets better. From an employee retention strategies perspective, this is a disaster because when you add new people they will simply not stick around because they can’t stand the negativity.
This can be a difficult situation to deal with but if approached with a mindset of “caring” about your people, it makes it easier to do. If you genuinely care about all of your people you will address the situation no matter how difficult it is to do. If you don’t address a problem of negativity, you will continue to hemorrhage people.
Remember…Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.® (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise) Why? Because C.R.A.P. Works!