3 Signs Your Employees’ Attitudes Need a Tune-Up

Written by: Christina Merhar
Originally published on April 28, 2015. Last updated March 2, 2016.

In startups and small businesses, every employee counts. Hiring the right employees leverages your company to success. On the flip side, the wrong employees require constant effort to fit a circle into a square. What might surprise you is that the difference between the “right” and “wrong” employees rarely relates to skills. Rather, it has everything to do with attitude - an employee’s willingness, flexibility, and passion to get the job done.HR_tip__Attitude_has_a_big_impact_on_small_business_success

In this quick HR tip article, let’s examine why employees’ attitude is important to your small business success and three signs your workplace needs an attitude tune-up.

HR Tip - Employee Attitude Makes or Breaks Small Businesses

As a fast growing company, jobs, roles, hierarchy, projects, and company focus can change rapidly. It’s a necessity for success as your company finds its niche in the market and tries new things to grow and profit. As such, you need employees to mold and grow with your company, to take on new projects and initiatives, and to be a brand ambassador for your company. You need each employee to act like an owner.

For the right kind of employee this is exciting. It’s an opportunity to gain new skills, advance quickly, have diversity in daily tasks, and have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.  

For the wrong kind of employee, even with all the right skills and years of experiences, this is overwhelming.

At Zane Benefits, we hire for attitude and willingness over skills and experience. Yes, an employee must meet certain skill-based competencies, but as we’ve found, when you hire candidates for their attitude and their willingness to learn and grow, you'll have employees who  act like owners and take initiative. You’ll have employees who represent your company in the best light.

3 Signs Your Workplace Needs an Attitude Tune-Up

How do you know if your employees’ attitudes are helping - or hindering - your small business’s success? Here are three signs employees’ attitudes need a tune up, and what you can do about it.

Sign #1 - “It’s Not My Job”

Hearing the phrase, “But it’s not my job” is like fingers on the chalkboard for small business owners. Small businesses need employees to have an “all hands on deck” attitude. Yes, following process is also very important, but you need employees who are flexible and eager to take on new projects; even if it’s not in their job description.

What can you do about it? With new hires, look for candidates who are motivated by growth and motivated by new opportunities. As for your current workforce, tie changes in job activities to the bigger company vision so employees can understand the change.

Related: Small Business Life Hacks - Create the Perfect Company Vision

Sign #2 - Employees Resist Promoting Your Company

It’s common for small businesses to ask employees to help represent or promote the company. You ask employees to attend networking events, update their LinkedIn profile, or talk with family and friends about your services. A big sign that employees’ attitudes need a tune up is they resist the opportunity to promote your company.

What can you do about it? While recruiting, hire brand ambassadors - employees who believe passionately in your company and are excited to help promote the businesses. For your current workforce, communicate regularly about your company’s mission and vision and remind employees where your company has been and where you are going. Also communicate the expectation for employees to help promote your business, and give them tools (and boundaries) for doing so.

Sign #3 - Lots of Problems, No Solutions

The third sign that your workplace needs an attitude tune-up is that employees are complaining. They can identify problems all day long, but they are not coming up with solutions.

What can you do about it? While recruiting, hire candidates that are solution-oriented and natural problem solvers. For your current workforce, keep the feedback coming about what is going wrong, but require that all employees come with a solution to the problem. This simple change will get employees thinking about the solution, and thinking like an owner.

Related: Company Culture - 11 Ways to Get Rid of Workplace Negativity


As a small business owner, you need employees with the right skills - and the right attitudes - to propel your business forward. You need employees to act like owners. But if employees are not taking responsibility, are complaining, or aren’t excited to promote your business it may be time for an attitude tune-up. But don’t worry. This can be addressed by hiring the right kind of employees and communicating mission and vision, often.

Do you think employee attitude is important for small business success? What are your HR tips? Leave a comment and join the discussion.

Topics: HR
Originally published on April 28, 2015. Last updated March 2, 2016.


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