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How to Deal with Negative Employees: A Comprehensive Guide

Every organization, irrespective of its size or industry, faces the challenge of dealing with negative employees at some point. These individuals, whether vocal about their concerns or silently fostering negativity, can significantly impact the team dynamics and overall productivity.

When Difficult Employees Met SwagMagic: A Turnaround Tale

It was an ordinary Tuesday morning at TechnoRealm Corp., but CEO Olivia Sanchez was facing an ongoing issue: a faction of employees causing disruptions, hampering team dynamics, and putting projects at risk. The tricky part was these employees were incredibly talented, making the choice of simply letting them go not so straightforward.


Understanding Negative Employees: The Problems and Reasons

Before diving into solutions, it’s essential to understand the root causes behind the negativity.

  • Problems:
    • Decreased team morale
    • Lower productivity and efficiency
    • Increased turnover rate
    • Strained coworker relationships
  • Reasons:
    • Personal issues or stresses outside the workplace
    • Perceived injustices or unfair treatment within the company
    • Fear of changes or the unknown (e.g., layoffs, restructuring)
    • Burnout or overwhelming job responsibilities
    • Feeling undervalued or unrecognized for their contributions

Identifying the Core Issues at TechnoRealm Corp.

At a management meeting, Olivia and her team listed the challenges:

  • Decreased team morale: Negative employees were leading to a decline in overall morale.
  • Frequent project delays: Inter-team conflicts often resulted in missed deadlines.
  • Heightened turnover rate: Many positive employees felt overwhelmed and chose to leave.
  • Loss of creativity: The constant tension hampered the flow of new ideas.

Collage of negative emotions
negative emotions

Challenges of Addressing Workplace Negativity

Successfully addressing negative employees is not without challenges:

  • Misinterpretation: Differentiating between genuinely negative employees and those having a bad day or week is essential.
  • Communication barriers: Fear of retribution or misunderstandings can make employees hesitant to express their concerns openly.
  • Company culture: Some organizations might inadvertently foster negativity by not promoting a positive and inclusive culture.


Effective Solutions to Manage Negative Employees

Once the root causes and challenges are identified, it’s time to explore the solutions.

  • Showing Appreciation – Actively showing employees that their work is valued can be transformative:
    • Regular Feedback Sessions: Schedule regular one-on-one sessions to discuss strengths, areas of improvement, and provide constructive feedback.
    • Employee of the Month: This traditional yet effective approach can motivate employees to work positively and productively.


  • Offering Thanks for Support – It’s often the small gestures that have the most profound impact:
    • Personalized Thank You Notes: A handwritten note recognizing an employee’s contribution can be a powerful motivator.
    • Public Acknowledgments: Celebrating an employee’s achievements in team meetings or company-wide emails boosts their morale and shows them that their work is essential.

Thank you
Thank you

  • Embracing Swag & Corporate Gifting – One can’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful gift:
    • Company Swag: T-shirts, mugs, or other branded items make employees feel part of the team.
    • Gift Cards & Bonuses: These offer a tangible way of showing appreciation, especially for milestones or significant achievements.
    • Tailored Gifts: Recognize individual likes and dislikes. A book for an avid reader or a gourmet hamper for a foodie can be more impactful than generic gifts.


Upon hearing about TechnoRealm’s challenges, a colleague introduced Olivia to SwagMagic, a company specializing in custom and personalized swag, gift cards, promotional merchandise, and corporate gifting solutions.

Ways SwagMagic Stepped into Revamp TechnoRealm Corp.’s Atmosphere

  • Personalized Gift Cards for Achievements: Recognizing employees’ contributions, these cards motivated them to bring their best selves to work.
  • Team Swag Kits: These kits fostered a sense of unity among the team members, even the difficult ones.
  • Quarterly Swag Store Access: Employees could choose their own gifts, making them feel valued and heard.
  • Surprise Desk Drops: Randomly placing custom merchandise on employees’ desks infused fun and surprise into their routine.
  • Milestone Celebrations: SwagMagic created custom gifts for employee anniversaries, emphasizing their importance to the company.
  • Event-specific Merchandise: For team-building events, SwagMagic supplied theme-based swag, enhancing participation and enthusiasm.
  • Project Completion Bonuses: On successful project completion, teams received gift cards, boosting their motivation for the next venture.
  • Feedback Rewards: Offering swag for providing constructive feedback made employees feel their opinions were valued.
  • Birthday Recognition: A simple birthday gift card with snacks from the company made employees feel personally recognized.
  • Custom Branding: SwagMagic helped design merchandise that reflected TechnoRealm’s ethos, boosting brand loyalty internally.

Conclusion: A Positive Upturn

With SwagMagic’s intervention, TechnoRealm saw marked improvements:

  • Boosted Morale: The personalized touch in gifts made even the difficult employees soften and feel more connected.
  • Increased Productivity: As the team felt more valued, they started cooperating better, reducing project delays.
  • Reduced Turnover: The positive changes convinced some employees to reconsider their resignations.

Olivia’s Gratitude: A Closing Note

Months later, Olivia looked around her office, noting the laughter, collaboration, and positivity. SwagMagic hadn’t just offered merchandise; they provided tools to reconnect her team. With a smile, Olivia penned a heartfelt thank you note to SwagMagic, sealing it in an envelope with TechnoRealm’s custom logo, a testament to the harmony restored in her company.

Negative employees, while challenging, aren’t impossible to manage. By understanding the reasons behind their attitudes and adopting the right strategies to show appreciation, thanks, and offering thoughtful gestures like corporate gifting, companies can turn the tide. Remember, a positive workplace doesn’t just benefit the employees; it contributes to the organization’s overall success.


  • Robbins, S. P. (2009). Organizational behavior. Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • Amabile, T. M., & Kramer, S. J. (2011). The progress principle: Using small wins to ignite joy, engagement, and creativity at work. Harvard Business Press.
  • Herzberg, F. (2003). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard business review, 81(1), 87-96.
  • Collins, B. J., Burrus, C. J., & Meyer, R. D. (2014). Gender differences in the impact of leadership styles on subordinate embeddedness and job satisfaction. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(4), 660-671.

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