When faced with the prospect of dealing with a negative employee, the HR can always make use of the easy way out and eliminate him after a few warnings. But the real problem arises when the employee is an active contributor.
In such cases, the employee is taken into confidence and given what we call the "positive therapy". For instance, we once had a manager who was not aware of the negative vibe he was reflecting through his body language. Many in his team considered him unapproachable and that particular team he was leading saw the highest attrition in the organization. When the matter reached the HR, we spoke to him and found out that he was unaware of the negative vibe he was creating. He was open to suggestions and soon the matter was resolved.
The team after witnessed no more attrition till now and the transformation was a confidence booster for the HR practices of the organization.
There are other times when employees are not open to such discussions. In such cases we give the employees a long rope to rectify their behavior. We explain to them their valuable contributions and ask them to align themselves to our business models.
Once this has been conveyed we induct the 360-degree approach where we hand out a standard questionnaire to all the people he/ she interacts with and then document his progress. To avoid any biases from sub-ordinates or peers, we include the inputs of external customers, vendors etc. We can't implement improvement plans and set a deadline. This is not a technical shortage but a problem with the personality so it will take time and till the reason wears out, the organization will have to be supportive.
In case an employee is having problems with his job profile, then we try and deploy him to a different section to see if his skill sets are better suited in that department. To avoid this would be the real task of an HR where he/she would have to monitor the need and expectations of the employees to cut the 'negativity' at its roots.