Part four of a six-part series on workplace passion: creating it, sustaining it, and building an employer brand with it. This week, snipers and the joys of healthy diversity.


It only takes one person. That person is usually clandestine.

I lazily referred to the good old ‘water-cooler conversation’ cliche in an earlier post on this subject, but it’s in those places that the sniper has a natural habitat. Unlucky for you if your refreshing glass of water comes with a dash of someone else’s bitterness.

Encouraging critical thought in the workplace is not akin to hiring critics. Snipers can be created by a poor hiring process (i.e. they are simply not working for the right company), or it might be their chosen way of life. Perhaps the enterprise has evolved or shifted around the employee, which can often happen with long tenure. Unfortunately snipers are absolutely a black hole for your passion commodity.

On a personal note, recognising the balance between overzealous agreement and destructive negativity becomes quite easy once you have facilitated over two hundred employment experience workshops. Passionate workplaces amaze me because they let you leave your politics and brinkmanship at the door. This is a shame as being English I pride myself on those abilities.

We’ve all met workplace snipers. Mercifully they only point loaded biro’s, but they will typically moan and complain in the background. They will be surprisingly articulate when it comes to describing what is wrong with their employer, and have little to say about what is good. Yet they are still there. Being paid.

Passionate workplaces are devoid of snipers; whether they are driven away by the drone of colleague optimism or by smart HR tactics is unclear; but if a shift to a passionate workplace brand is in the works, it will be undone by unfettered cynicism. So you need to show those snipers the door. (The one marked ‘Out’.)


Let’s get back to encouraging critical thought.

Passionate workplaces will feature diversity. Differing backgrounds, experiences and interests create a powerful cocktail for idea generation, debate and frank purposeful discussion.

Passionista’s seek diversity and broad approval. They are hungry for finding ways to enable the company to succeed. They welcome the perspective of others, and appreciate the differences they bring. This of course must be backed up commensurately with the personality of the employer brand.

Brand Impact

When people from different backgrounds unite with the same set of belief’s it creates a more powerful proposition. Encouraging diversity enables a self-policing ecology which is incredibly effective at negating snipers.

Next installment – I’ll look into creating a disruptive yet consistent hive. To talk about your employment brand needs, contact [email protected]

Look forward to your thoughts below.

The Workplace Passion Series

Comments? Thoughts?