Bad employee behaviour in the workplace appears to be a lot more common than many employers think, according to new study by an organisational psychology consultancy.
Researchers on the first comprehensive study into ‘counter-productive workplace behaviours’ (CWBs) found that most of those studied were guilty of at least some CWBs – including unnecessary sick days, inability to get along with colleagues, ignoring OHS or other workplace policies, and theft.
It turned out that at least two thirds of Aussie workers had been rude to their colleagues, while over 90% had disparaged the organisation they work for at least once, Andrew Marty from SACS Consulting said. “We were surprised by the relatively high levels of negative behaviour identified by the study and believe the findings have significant implications for Australian employers.”
Many clients had been surprised and concerned by the findings and by how common some of the behaviours in question were, he said. “Identifying CWBs is important for employers as they can cause staff energy levels, drive and commitment to work to drop. They can also create a downward spiral into truly negative behaviour such as widespread bullying and harassment. This, in turn, affects productivity and profitability of a business and the overall quality of the workplace culture.”
Among the key findings:
86.6% of employees had ignored or snubbed someone at work at least once (41% had done so sometimes or more frequently).
Over half of employees (55.3%) of employees had taken things from work at least once (11% had done so sometimes or more frequently).
21.4% of employees had ignored OH&S policies or procedures sometimes or more frequently.
22.1% of employees had sometimes or more frequently taken a sick day when they were well enough to work.
Nearly 16% of employees were actively rude to colleagues sometimes or more frequently.
Men were more likely to infringe against their coworkers, while women were more likely to infringe against the organisation.
The 31-40 age group for women was a high risk for CWBs, probably because many were under enormous pressure to balance family and work commitments.
Younger employees (30 years or younger) were more likely to engage in CWBs than employees aged 51 years or older.
The research findings had been used to develop a unique online CWB assessment and to identify the personality indicators which suggest a risk in prospective employees, Marty said. “Organisations can use these tests to assess the likelihood of potential employees displaying these behaviours – and to select those candidates with lower risk of negative behaviours.”
More information about the study and the online assessment is available via the SACs website
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