Employers need to address negative attitudes in the workplace as soon as they become evident; however, that’s not always possible, which leaves the employee review meeting as the most opportune time to address an employee’s workplace attitude. During an employee review, ensure the employee understands how others observe her behavior or attitude and work together to determine the most effective way to resolve workplace issues that create a negative response.
Schedule a meeting time for the employee’s performance review. Notify the employee at least several days in advance. Conduct the meeting in a private office or conference room to avoid disruptions caused by normal workplace activity. During the meeting, invite the employee to contribute to the dialogue candidly and without reserve as straightforward as possible. If you anticipate the employee arriving at the meeting with a negative attitude, lay ground rules for communication, such as honest expression in a respectful manner.
Hand the employee a copy of her performance review and documentation supporting your ratings. Documentation includes work logs, Internet activity, progress reports, sales records and customer or manager feedback. Use the previous year’s performance review in making comparisons about the employee’s performance from one evaluation period to the next.
Discuss the employee’s strengths, skills and qualifications. Give examples of how her strengths enable the company to reach its overall goals and what skills and qualifications she can utilize to improve performance. Provide evidence of the employee’s capabilities, as in previous performance reviews and manager feedback concerning aptitude and opportunities based on her talent and expertise.
Explain appropriate workplace behavior and attitude. Provide examples of acceptable versus unacceptable behavior in interactions with co-workers, managers and customers. Describe ways that employee behavior and attitude undermine employee performance. One example you can use illustrates a salesperson who has excellent communication skills, product knowledge and abilities in closing sales, but neglects follow-up with customers and doesn’t respond to customer concerns. Explain how the company can lose customers based on employee behavior even though the essential steps are in place regarding initial performance.
Apply your examples of poor behavior and negative attitude to the employee’s own work behaviors. Explain how a negative attitude can jeopardize performance and employment status if not corrected. Ensure the employee understands the importance of maintaining positive workplace relationships. Ask her if there are ways the company can help improve her outlook -- if there are work processes or policies that cause frustration or if the employee-supervisor relationship is a productive one. In some cases, employees who exhibit negative attitudes are simply reacting to ineffective leadership. Examine various workplace circumstances that could be causing the employee to have a negative attitude.
Write down on the employee’s performance review the steps the employee agrees to take to ensure a positive attitude in the workplace. Include measures the company will undertake to explore ineffective leadership, inefficiencies or other matters that can create negative attitudes in the workplace. If necessary, set a follow-up meeting to discuss progress either you makes in this area.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.