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Team Effectiveness

The High Cost of Workplace Incivility

The High Cost of Workplace Incivility   

We All Need to Foster a Respectful Work Culture

In today's fast-paced and diverse workplace, fostering a culture of civility and respect is crucial for organizational success. However, the growing prevalence of workplace incivility poses a significant threat to organizations, impacting performance, turnover, customer experience, and collaboration.

The hidden toll of incivility necessitates immediate action to cultivate a respectful work culture.

The impact of incivility on workplace performance is profound. According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, employees who do not feel respected perform worse than their counterparts, which can lead to some rather troubling outcomes:

•    47% of those who were treated poorly intentionally decreased the time spent at work
•    38% deliberately decreased the quality of their work.
•    80% of employees reported losing work time worrying about an incident of incivility
•    63% lost work time trying to avoid the offender
•    66% admitted to a decline in performance
•    78% experienced a decrease in commitment to the organization.

Georgetown University professor Christine Porath found in her research that over 62% of employees reported experiencing rudeness or incivility in the workplace. These alarming statistics underscore the hidden toll of workplace incivility on performance, employee turnover, customer experience, and collaboration. 

The impact of incivility extends beyond the internal workings of an organization and can affect customer relationships. Research conducted by Porath also revealed that consumers are less likely to purchase from companies they perceive as uncivil, even if the rudeness is not directed at them personally.

Employee turnover is another significant consequence of workplace incivility. Many employees who quit due to uncivil behavior do not divulge the reasons for their departure, leading to a hidden toll on organizations. The costs associated with turnover can amount to an estimated twice an employee's annual salary, particularly for high-level employees. In the survey conducted by Porath, it was found that 12% of those treated poorly left their jobs as a direct result of the uncivil treatment.

Employees who witness a negative interaction can lead to negative generalizations about the organization and its brand. 25% of individuals who experienced incivility admitted to taking their frustrations out on customers.

To combat workplace incivility, organizations must take proactive steps, and learning and development professionals play a crucial role in promoting a respectful work culture. Here are some practical strategies that can be implemented:

Hiring for Civility: During the recruitment process, assess candidates' interpersonal skills and their ability to work effectively in a team. Prioritize hiring individuals who embody and value civility.

Training Programs: Develop comprehensive training programs that focus on empathy, active listening, conflict resolution, and respectful communication. Make these programs mandatory for all employees, regardless of their position within the organization.

Leadership Development Initiatives: Equip leaders with the skills to model and reinforce civil behavior. Leaders should lead by example, demonstrating respectful communication and addressing incidents of incivility promptly and effectively.

Coaching Sessions: Provide coaching sessions for individuals who struggle with interpersonal skills or exhibit uncivil behavior. These sessions help individuals understand the impact of their actions and develop strategies to improve their interactions with colleagues.

It is essential for organizations to prioritize addressing incivility and create a work environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and motivated to contribute their best. By implementing these strategies, organizations can foster a culture of respect, collaboration, and productivity.

Learning and development professionals have a crucial role in implementing hiring practices, training programs, leadership development initiatives, and coaching sessions that promote civility and respect. It is time for organizations to recognize the seriousness of incivility and take concrete steps towards creating workplaces that thrive on respect, collaboration, and success.

At FlashPoint we offer a variety of professional development solutions that can be facilitated with your team, department, or individually. For more information about our latest upcoming Open Enrollment The Leadership Challenge, visit our events page. 

Photo by Chris Sabor on Unsplash  

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Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin is a Senior Leadership Development Consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness.