Work attitude: What shapes  how employees feel
6 Feb 2023

Work attitude: What shapes how employees feel

We’ve all experienced positive and negative feelings at work. Maybe you’ve dreaded sitting through a meeting with that one co-worker who can’t seem to say anything nice about anyone. Or, you’ve been re-energized on a project when an encouraging colleague praised your hard work.

Work attitude do more than brighten (or darken) your day at the office, though. They affect the entire workplace, impacting everything from morale to productivity to job satisfaction.

Understanding the factors that shape employee attitudes will help you provide a better working environment. The kind of healthy environment that helps employees flourish. 

How workplace attitudes affect your company

Both positive and negative attitudes affect an organization’s performance. Operations are not completely separate from employee feelings—especially when those feelings turn into actions.

Consider three key areas where attitude can make a big difference to the employee experience—and to your bottom line.

1. Performance and productivity

Employees with positive attitudes at work put their heart into their work and care about quality. They drive their own career goals, getting noticed and even tapped for promotions. And they act as cheerleaders for others, inspiring them to the same heights.

On the flip side, employees with negative outlooks weaken productivity. They spend energy complaining or gossiping. If they don’t feel their work makes a difference, they may become apathetic. If they’re concerned about unfairness, they’ll push back against difficult assignments and mistreat customers.

One or two pessimistic dispositions can create ripple effects that lead others to get lazy about hitting deadlines, spread rumors, or disregard customer service.

2. Employee retention

An optimistic environment where employees feel supported is crucial to retaining your top talent. Employees who are happy in their jobs and feel valued are far more likely to stay with a company than those who don’t.

But when employees see work as drudgery or as an unfair system where they just can’t get ahead, they’re not likely to stick around. And if negative attitudes at work go unchecked, you’ll incur all the costs of frequent turnover.

3. Customer satisfaction

Stellar customer service is a huge factor in building customer loyalty. Customers place a lot of value on their interactions with a company. An employee with a positive attitude will be helpful and handle communication with the care needed.

But when someone has negative feelings about their workplace, it’ll show in their interactions. And when customers experience bad attitudes while dealing with your company, chances are they won’t be returning.



Factors that impact employees’ attitudes at work

  • Job satisfaction. People need to feel like what they do matters. The type of input employees receive at work plays a big role in determining job satisfaction. For example, do they see the impact of their work? Do they get feedback on how to improve? Do they receive praise for a job well done? The answers to these kinds of questions directly influence positive or negative attitudes at work.
  • Employer support. Employees who have opportunities for growth within a company tend to be more optimistic. When a company provides learning and development courses and supports goal setting and progress, people perform better. But it can be demoralizing if they don’t feel their employer is investing in their career.
  • Workplace culture. Culture is a result of the behaviors that are modeled and tolerated around the office. A friendly manager who proactively offers support fosters a tone of support and productivity. But a bitter employee gossip session around the water cooler may communicate a hostile or dysfunctional workplace. Employees see work through the lens of your culture and form their attitudes accordingly.


The role of organizations in shaping work attitudes

Plan for positive attitudes at work by monitoring and influencing the factors that impact them. Take a proactive approach to measure work attitudes, get employees started on the right foot, and make corrections along the way.

The following steps can help you take control of your workplace health.


  • Offer learning and development opportunities
  • Check your culture on a regular basis
  • Train leadership in people skills




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