Counter-productive work behaviour is surprisingly common
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work behaviour

Counter-productive work behaviour is surprisingly common

A new study has found bad behaviour is unfortunately commonplace in Australian workplaces.

A study of 1,000 professionals by organisational psychology firm SACS Consulting revealed that 87 per cent of Australian employees had ignored someone they didn’t like at work and 67 per cent of those surveyed had intentionally been rude to colleagues.

SACS Consulting state that counter-productive work behaviour is often under-reported, as employees do not want to cause trouble or are afraid to discuss the issue with the colleague or boss. This can lead to the loss of good staff. The survey found that 56 per cent of employees had left their job because they did not get on with co-workers.

It is estimated that counter-productive work behaviours in the US could cost employers $200 billion a year. If an environment of bad behaviour is allowed to develop in the workplace it can become normalised, which decreases good behaviour and increases the cost of health and safety expenses such as WorkCover.

SACS Consulting’s Managing Director Andrew Marty says the contagious nature of these behaviours can be dangerous for organisations if not addressed.

“[W]hen leaders tolerate minor counter-productive work behaviours these tend to escalate into major counter-productive work behaviours. It’s almost that with every further acceptance of negative behaviours we set the bar a little bit lower. This can lead to very severe events such as bullying, harassment and organisational theft,” says Mr Marty.

As a recent EmployeeConnect blog article about workplace ostracism highlighted, employees who felt isolated were more intent on finding a new job and were more susceptible to health problems as a result.

HRMS software can help with employee relations if there is counter-productive behaviour in the workplace. The Industrial Relations module allows employers to document and track negative behaviour to deal with problems and issues.

Ari Kopoulos

CEO at EmployeeConnect