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Susan M. Heathfield

Causes of Negativity?

By May 8, 2014

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Are you experiencing employee negativity in your workplace? A large percentage of my reader email and the posts in comments on the site are related to negative experiences at work. And, while I know they exist, negative workplaces are hard to understand.

The typical workplace has its ups and downs in terms of employee negativity. Many workplaces are trying to be employee oriented. But, even the most employee oriented workplace can shudder under the weight of negative thinking. When employers understand the causes of employee negativity and put in place measures to prevent employee negativity, negativity fails to gain a foothold in the work environment.

A couple of years ago, Towers Perrin and researchers Gang & Gang interviewed employees and discovered the five main causes of employee negativity:

  • An excessive workload;

  • Concerns about management's ability to lead the company forward successfully;

  • Anxiety about the future, particular longer-term job, income and retirement security;

  • Lack of challenge in their work, with boredom intensifying existing frustration about workload; and

  • Insufficient recognition for the level of contribution and effort provided, and concerns that pay isn't commensurate with performance.

Other sources of negativity that I hear about frequently are perceived inequities or unfairness, bad bosses, difficult coworkers, perceived favoritism, lack of a career path, and not enough opportunities for professional development.

What causes negativity in your workplace?

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