The common mantra of treating others how you want to be treated has a place not only in your personal life, but also in the workplace. Whether you’re dealing with co-workers directly or simply passing someone in the hallway, every interaction should be viewed as an opportunity to create a positive working environment.
Unacceptable behaviors in the workplace run the gamut from offensive personal behaviors to rude actions and reactions while on the job. Working in close proximity to others requires tact and a little common sense. The Baltimore Workplace Civility Study, published in 2003, provides a little insight into the types of uncivil behavior that employees define as a problem in the workplace. They include refusing to contribute to team projects, neglecting common courtesies such as “thank you” and “please,” yelling at coworkers and public criticism or outbursts.
Rudeness, bad manners and disrespectful behavior impact not only those around you, but also the entire culture and productivity of the workplace. According to Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, co-authors of “The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do about It” published in 2009, 80 percent of employees who experience disrespectful behavior and incivility in the workplace demonstrated a reduced commitment to the company. When not engaged and committed, an employee’s production and creativity decreases.
Pearson and Porath also found that stress on the job costs U.S. employers approximately $300 billion annually and the price tag of replacing each employee who leaves is approximately $50,000. Findings of The Baltimore Workplace Civility Study revealed that incivility in the workplace can have additional negative consequences for employers. Employees who experienced uncivil behavior admitted to discussing the incident with coworkers, calling in sick and contemplating changing jobs. These types of actions have an affect not only on the production and efficiency of the company; they have a negative impact on employee morale and the culture of the workplace.
Setting the Tone
Fortunately, companies have begun to take notice of the costs associated with incivility in the workplace. This has led to the adoption of zero tolerance policies and a focus on making sure expectations surrounding civility in the workplace are a prominent part of the company’s culture. In addition, more strategic hiring efforts help ensure companies hire competent and civil employees.
- USC Marshall: It Pays to Be Nice – Rudeness in the Workplace Comes with a Hefty Price Tag
- The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do about It; Christine Pearson and Christine Porath
- The University of Baltimore: The Baltimore Workplace Civility Study
- Mind Tools: Good Manners in the Office – Realizing there’s No Excuse for Discourtesy
Nicole Long is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. With experience in management and customer service, business is a primary focus of her writing. Long also has education and experience in the fields of sports medicine, first aid and coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati.