The Missing Piece in the Workplace

When I visit various work settings, I often hear about companies investing in new equipment or clever business strategies to get employees to do more work in less time, often spending thousands for strategists to come in and teach these “proven methods.” These companies view technology and productivity strategies as a way to improve the bottom line.

However, they often don’t work. At least not long term. The crucial missing piece is the foundation of satisfied employees. And while businesses can upgrade their tech each year, money for seminars on keeping employees excited about their job and engaged can never be found, not deemed important or not happening in this budget year. Sadly, everyone takes a hit for this type of thinking.

Employees who feel appreciated do more than what’s expected. It’s not only a no brainer, but has been researched and proven to be accurate. Employees who feel appreciated, secure and pleased with their workplace are dedicated to the company’s growth and give a positive customer experience. Going beyond that, when workplace camaraderie is at its highest, employees enjoy the company of their coworkers, relationships are nurtured not strained, and gossip and negativity is stomped out before it gains traction.

Creating this type of environment starts with the managers. They set the tone for the department. They shouldn’t be hired because they are next in line and have worked so many years; it’s imperative they meet the criteria for management. Positive, optimistic, kind, fair and willing to engage in the tough conversations to keep good employees in and bad employees out. If you want customer satisfaction to take a hit, allow sour apples to fester in your department. Their negativity will infect everyone and soon your customers will feel it too.

Workplaces must give their management staff tools for managing those “difficult employees.” Teach them how to deal with the bad apples so they don’t create a negative environment and your bright stars end up leaving. These conversations are difficult and awkward, usually the difficult people bring their challenging behavior to the conversation, but with the right training and tools, managers can deal with them appropriately.

Creating a positive workplace takes effort and work. The payoff is superb service and increased productivity, a place where happy employees tell their colleagues to come work here, too. Where gossip and negativity are dealt with in a very timely manner, where hard work and people skills are rewarded.  The message from the top has to be one of support, interest in the soft skills, the camaraderie, the joy in the work, the individual employee who feels like they made a great choice in working for you, committed not only to their excellence but to the larger workplace. Companies cannot afford to miss this crucial piece to having a successful workplace, happy, invested employees and well trained managers.

Julie McGrath offers workshops to help managers deal with difficult people, prevent burnout and renew passion in the job. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *