The Effect of Employee Attitude on Productivity in the Workplace

by Linda Ray

    The attitudes of employees in the workplace can have a significant effect on the business as a whole. Attitude is one of the hidden, hard-to-measure factors that ends up being crucial to the success of a company. Whether for better or for worse, employee attitudes tend to have a drastic impact on the productivity of a business, both directly and through the effect on other job-related factors.

    Engagement

    The first factor subject to employee attitudes is engagement. Employees that have a negative attitude toward their company are far more likely to be disengaged, fulfilling their jobs with the least amount of work possible and at the lowest quality level. This attitude of disengagement, disconnection and lack of concern for the company's well-being is costly to employers by way of lost productivity. Employees with the same competencies and skill levels are likely to be many times more productive if they have a positive attitude toward work, and feel connected, committed and invested in the success of the company. (ref 1)

    Retention

    Based on their attitudes toward work, employees feel more or less committed to the job. Those with a generally negative outlook at their work situation have no reason to feel invested in a future with the company. They can leave at any time and might just be waiting for the right opportunity. High employee turnover is significantly costly to business in a number of ways, including training, hiring resources and work left undone. By contrast, employees with positive attitudes toward the job are more likely to develop a sense of commitment to the business and stay for the long haul, lowering turnover costs and increasing productivity through experience, reports "Entrepreneur."

    Work Environment

    Workplace attitudes, both positive and negative, are infectious and can easily spread to co-workers. Negative employee attitudes can have a ripple effect. Decreased trust and goodwill toward co-workers harms collaboration, decreasing productivity. A negative social environment isolates individual employees and creates incentives to avoid or leave the job. By contrast, positive attitudes make interaction and collaboration more pleasant and productive. The encouraging social atmosphere that results from good attitudes creates incentives to be part of the team and gives employees a sense of belonging and emotional investment with the success of the company.

    Client Interaction

    Not all employees interact directly with customers and clients, but when they do, their attitude is a reliable predictor of customer satisfaction. Even the employees who don't have direct contact with clients can influence through their attitudes the level of care and customer service. A negative attitude is likely to manifest in disengagement from customers and lack of concern for their needs. Customers are an annoyance and an inconvenience to employees with a bad attitude. On the other hand, a positive and engaged attitude is likely to result in courtesy, emotional engagement and a real concern for the well-being and satisfaction of the customer.

    About the Author

    Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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