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Negativity is a toxic virus which can be transmitted between people

Negativity is a toxic virus which can be transmitted between people

by Bill Zachry, SCIF Board Member

One of the jobs of a claims manager in a claims office is to create an atmosphere which is relentlessly positive. Positivity results in better outcomes and improved morale among all the people in the office. Positivity results in significantly lower claims costs and much lower turnover in the office.

One negative person can destroy the harmony and effectiveness of a whole office. That person can and usually does “infect” other employees in the office with the negative virus. It can start with just one key person relentlessly complaining about “everything and anything” and grow into a negative pandemic.

In Workers’ Compensation, the negativity can be particularly toxic if the person interacts with injured workers. When the negativity virus is transmitted to the injured worker it usually results in increased litigation and significantly increases claims costs.

Usually the negative person has issues outside of the working environment. Sometimes that person is just an “angry” person. It is their personality.

Usually there is nothing inherently evil with the person; they are just a carrier of the “negativity” virus.

Usually, the triggering events which drive negativity are changes in the nature of the work. The changes can be moving the desk within the office, or due to the implementation of new technology, such as upgrading or changing the claims system or a change of the laws, rules and regulations in the system.

Usually removing the one person who is the carrier of the negative virus results in the other infected employees recovering their positivity.

Good managers identify people who are infected with the negativity virus and either isolate them or get rid of them. This is particularly difficult in companies or in public agencies where it is difficult to get rid of employees. It is also difficult to do when the office is short staffed. Eliminating someone with the negative virus is usually not inexpensive because the anger is then focused back on the company through litigation.

Identifying and eliminating the negative virus from an office is one of the more difficult parts of being in management. However, removing the employees who are infected is vital for the working environment and success of the office.

Every other employee will be happier that you did.

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