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Should HR Silence Complaining Employees? | Scott Pate, SHRM-SCP, and Janice Torres

For the benefit of everyone in the workplace, complaining employees shouldn’t be allowed to spread their discontent unchecked. They will sow seeds of animosity among their peers and will misrepresent their personal indignation as a reality within the company when new employees join the team. 

In collaboration with company leaders, HR professionals must work to create and maintain the culture they desire. If an employee’s conduct opposes that ethos, it is HR’s responsibility to stop the conflicting behavior.

The chronic complainer will often attempt to engage co-workers in their negative and unproductive discussions. They view their co-workers as allies and believe they are equally passionate about the issues. 

While co-workers may understand the concerns, they often don’t want to get involved, and the constant barrage of unwanted negativity has a significant impact on the team’s mental health, produc­tivity, engagement and ultimately retention. 

Toxic culture is the top driver of employee attrition, according to survey results published in the MIT Sloan Management Review in January 2022. “A toxic corporate culture … is 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company’s attrition rate compared with its industry,” researchers concluded in the article, titled
“Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation.”

With negativity as the top reason employees are quitting their jobs, HR can’t allow complaining employees to spread…

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