Employees behaving badly in the workplace

Over 86% of Australia’s professional workers have deliberately ignored or snubbed a colleague at work at least once, according to the findings of a new study by SACS Consulting into counter-productive workplace behaviours (CWBs) announced today.

The study of over 2,000 Australian professionals found that most have been guilty of at least some of the common CWBs, including unnecessary sick days, inability to get along with colleagues, becoming distracted with non-work related matters, ignoring OHS or other workplace policies, and theft.

“It turns out that bad behavior in the workplace is much more common than some employers might think. At least two thirds of us have been rude to colleagues and over 90% have disparaged the organisation they work for at least once,” said Andrew Marty, psychologist and managing director of SACS Consulting.

Key study findings include:

  • Nearly 16% of employees were actively rude to colleagues sometimes or more frequently
  • 86.6% of employees had ignored or snubbed someone at work at least once (41% had done so sometimes or more frequently)
  • 55.3% of employees had taken things from work at least once (11% had done so sometimes or more frequently)
  • 21.4% of employees had ignored OH&S policies or procedures “sometimes” or more frequently – a chilling thought in high risk sectors
  • Across all age groups, more men than women admit to behaving badly toward their co-workers
  • Across all age groups, more women than men admit to behaving badly toward their organization

SACS Consulting, the Australian human resource and organisational psychology consulting firm who undertook the research, believe the research is the first comprehensive study of its kind in Australia.

Mr. Marty said he was surprised by the relatively high levels of negative behaviour identified by the study and believes the findings have significant implications for Australian employers.  He said that many clients who had seen these findings were surprised and concerned by how common some of these behaviours are.

“Identifying CWBs is important for employers as they can cause staff energy levels, drive and commitment to work to drop,” said Mr. Marty.

“They can also create a downward spiral into truly negative behaviour such as widespread bullying and harassment. This in turn affects productivity and profitability of a business and the overall quality of the workplace culture.”

SACS Consulting has used the research findings to develop a unique online CWB assessment and has also identified the personality indicators that suggest a risk in prospective employees.

An organisation can use these tests to assess the likelihood of potential employees displaying these behaviours, allowing them to select those candidates with lower risk of negative and higher probability of positive workplace behaviours.

For more information on the Australian Measure for Counter-productive Workplace Behaviour study, SACS Consulting or the online CWB test visit www.sacsconsult.com.au

Other findings of SACS Counterproductive Workplace Behaviour study include:

  • 22.1% of employees had sometimes or more frequently taken a sick day when they were well enough to work
  • The 31-40 age group for women is a high risk for CWBs, probably because many of them are under enormous pressure to balance family and work commitments
  • Younger employees (30 years or younger) are more likely to engage in CWBs than employees aged 51 years or older

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