Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some People’s Kids!

Childish behavior at work

We expect immature behavior from kids, but not usually from our employees. Yet it still occurs. Again, CareerBuilder is out front with a survey that included a representative sample of more than 3,000 full-time, U.S. workers and more than 2,000 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes. Take note, the respondents included employees – the co-workers – of those exhibiting immature or childish behaviors.

A whopping 77% of those surveyed have witnessed such behavior in the workplace! Like we don’t have enough to do without refereeing schoolyard antics. 

What behavior are employees seeing among their colleagues? According to the survey, among the top reported were:

  • Whine: 55 percent
  • Pout over something that didn’t go his/her way: 46 percent
  • Tattle on another co-worker: 44 percent
  • Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 percent
  • Make a face behind someone’s back: 35 percent
  • Form a clique: 32 percent
  • Start a rumor about a co-worker: 30 percent
  • Storm out of the room: 29 percent
  • Throw a tantrum: 27 percent
  • Refuse to share resources with others: 23 percent

And it appears that immature behavior is not limited to rank and file employees, as evidenced by a few of these real life incidents reported by HR and hiring managers:

  • Company owner threw tantrums, yelled and slammed doors when he didn't get his way.
  • Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
  • Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
  • Employee ate other employees’ food from the company refrigerator.
  • Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
  • Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, and then pretended to be their advocate.
  • Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cell phone and showed it to her "clique."
  • Employee went to lunch and never came back.
We all know that goofing around at work is common, and is sometimes just a way to let off some steam, or is all in good fun among work friends. But when it’s allowed to get out of hand, it will affect morale, productivity and certainly the reputation and career opportunities of those engaging in such inappropriate behavior. It can even lead to claims of harassment and discrimination if allowed to continue. Want more evidence? Check out this article from the Chicago Tribune where an employee who had been given a conditional job offer texted pictures of his nude self to the HR Manager - twice! Needless to say, he didn’t get the job and in fact, earned himself a visit from the police. While this guy wasn’t an employee yet, the very act of sending nude pictures to people is acting like an immature (and probably hormonal) teenager. Not the behavior of someone you may want to have in your workplace, potentially leading others and being a role model for your organization.

So, I guess all this is really a cautionary tale. If you’re an employee, think twice before you whine, tattle or throw a temper tantrum at work. If you’re an employer, nip this stuff in the bud before it becomes a real problem.

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