Etiquette and Civility Maintenance In The Workplace

In an article from Talent, Mohini Kundu, an editorial intern for Talent Management magazine, suggests a few ways to keep employee tension rates to a minimum. When things get heated, it isn’t just feelings that get hurt – engagement and performance are also effected. How can you help de-escalate the situation?

Escalating incivility in the workplace is leading to decreases in engagement and employee performance and increases in turnover rates. In fact, according to the 2011 study, “Civility in America”, by KRC Research, thirty-eight percent of American workers say the workplace has become more uncivil and disrespectful compared to a few years ago.

The unstable business environment has really brought out some unfavorable characteristics in the workforce, including discouragement and desperation.

Stress and unhappiness – much of it pertaining to the economy – are uncommonly high amongst workers today, and it is beginning to affect employee culture. “People are becoming more fearful for their jobs, even panicky, and when things go awry they do one of two things: They pull into their shell or they start lashing out at other folks,” Cohen said.

Another element of the problem could be technology and how it has affected social interaction and communication. Texts and emails could be considered distracting, and disruptive of personal and professional communication relationships. Communication through devices makes people loose sight of the personal interaction element. Not to mention the etiquette that goes along with person-to-person interaction, which is all but disappearing. People aren’t looking at each other when they speak, courtesy has flown out the window, and as a result, people are more disrespectful.

In the workplace, this new trend is resulting in lower productivity and higher turnover. According to the January Harvard Business Review, more than a third of employees who encountered incivility on the job decreased the quality of their work and half decreased their efforts intentionally. People don’t stick around to be made to feel incompetent. What can you do to reduce the probability of tension and incivility in your work environment? What can you do when things get out of control? Three tips include:

1. Introduce consequences: Disrespect amongst employees and even employers is often overlooked and typically goes unpunished. Treating incivility with aggressive discipline similar to the way sexual harassment is addressed will help workers realize that it is unacceptable.

2. Use training to change behavior: Training, including workshops and one-on-one counseling sessions with executives, can go a long way toward creating behavioral change.

3. Preventing is better than curing: Employers should consider their culture and values as early as the hiring stage.

It’s not too late to revamp etiquette and courtesy in your work environment. Such small gestures really go a long way, and help employees stay engaged and productive. A happy workforce is a productive workforce! To read more about how to keep disrespect out of your work environment, click here to read the full article.

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