Company Loathes Misery

No one needs to tell you the top three or ten reasons why employees leave. You are an employee, you know why people leave jobs, and odds are you have resigned from a post for one reason or another. It is likely due to something being askew with the company culture; pay, leadership, lack of vision, development opportunities, or co-workers.

Company Loathes Misery

Yes, people leave jobs because of their co-workers! You know which ones – Crabby Cathy, Loud Lucy, Snarky Stanley, Mumbling Milton, that one person who always has something to complain about. (And you just know their response to Gallup’s question about having a best friend at work is a resounding “No”.)

NBC Photo: Chris Haston
NBC Photo: Chris Haston

At any given time during the work day THAT coworker expresses disdain for their work in a variety of ways; customers seek service (groan), a co-worker asks a question (eye-roll), a manager asks them to assist with training (big sigh), no matter what arises, the Grumpy Gus always finds the negative in the situation. They find no joy in anything remotely related to work, or anything outside of work, and they will tell anyone who is willing to listen. After all, misery loves company. Unfortunately for misery, the feeling is not mutual. Look around, your employees despise being on the same project team or in a meeting with Debbie Downer. In fact, they will likely take the long way around to the cafeteria just to avoid having the life sucked out of them as they walk by her cube.

What’s the big deal? It’s just their personality, being negative is part of Snarky Stanley’s DNA. While it may appear to only be one person, their behavior impacts those around them, how work is getting done how your customers are being served, and the quality of the products being made. It is a symptom of a larger problem. If it is brushed off as “That’s just who they are”, your employees will not only lose trust in you, but they will take their talents elsewhere.

Just as service is a differentiator when buying or selling a product, culture is a differentiator when attracting and retaining talent. Corporate culture has become such a large part of organizational strategy that businesses are incorporating it into the C-suite. Chief Culture Officers are popping up everywhere. In fact, four CCOs were featured in the July/August 2015 edition of SHRM’s HR Magazine the article “Culture Keepers”.

When asked how culture relates to the company’s external brand, part of Chief Culture Officer of Stericycle Inc. stated, (in part);

“By focusing on employees first, we create a competitive differentiator. It’s less about what we do and more about who we are.”

How your employees respond to situations on the job, how they interact with one another, how customers are treated, and how you as a leader respond – all of these actions – this is your culture.

If you continue to ignore the eye-rolls, shoulder shrugs, and dramatic sighs floating around your office, you will continue to experience decreases in productivity, low customer satisfaction and regrettable turnover.

Address the negativity. Doing so will help you retain your top performers and will protect your brand and your culture.

Alicia McDougal


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