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How to Deal with an Employee Who has a Negative Attitude

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Employees with a negative attitude are never productive for any company. Not only are they difficult to work with, but their negative outlook can spread throughout the staff, affect morale and disrupt the progress or success of a business. Also, over time, an employee’s negative behavior could mean the difference between gaining and losing a client or valuable employee. Unfortunately, walking the line with a negative employee can present a challenge for HR compliance. 

Recognizing the Signs of a Negative Employee While Maintaining HR Compliance

To ensure a harmonious work environment, HR managers should first recognize who the employee(s) are that have a negative attitude. An article on Natural HR explains that this may be more difficult than it seems but some sure signs include:

  • They always question management and constantly disapprove of decisions. 
  • Protesting against work volume, co-workers or the company.
  • Creating rivals between employees and management. 
  • Overstating mistakes by either the company or other employees.

If you recognize some of these characteristics, arrange a meeting with the employee. Before speaking to them, however, clearly recognize how their attitude is affecting the work environment. Are employees upset or discouraged? Are employees leaving for other opportunities? Is success or progress in the company being affected? Whatever the concerns, organize your thoughts and notes, and speak clearly about the issue(s) at hand, and try the following practices as suggested by Natural HR:

  • Keep it professional. Don’t make it seem like it’s a personal attack. 
  • Be clear and relay examples of their bad/negative attitude and that it needs to change for the better. By being vague or evasive won’t necessarily address or solve the problem. Additionally, clear examples can help ensure you abide by regulations and follow HR compliance.
  • Always listen to what the employee has and let them voice their concerns. There may be a root cause. 
  • Try not to point the finger directly at them. Rather than using “you have a bad attitude,” try explaining, “we see some negativity around the office because of your bad attitude.
  • While it’s important to be clear that their behavior has to change, try to conclude the meeting on a positive note, and how they can make a difference in the workplace. 

It’s never easy to confront an employee with issues that can affect other staff and even a company. Following some of these steps can alleviate some problems and provide the chance for a more pleasant workspace.

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