The way employees conduct themselves in the workplace has a big impact on how an organization is able to function. Left unchecked, negative behaviors, habits and practices could prove disastrous for a business, with research showing that underperforming individuals can cost a business up to $8,000 a day by limiting the effectiveness of the entire workforce.
You therefore need to be vigilant to any signs that standards of employee behavior are declining, and should be ready to take action to address the problem.
Here are some of the most common types of negative behavior to look out for:
People arriving late is a very common occurrence in the average workforce. Most of the time these are isolated incidents and there’s a perfectly good reason for them, but when someone makes poor punctuality a habit, it can cause serious problems.
As well as impacting productivity, it’s a sign the employee is disengaged and unmotivated. Rather than going straight down the disciplinary route, try to identify the root cause of the lateness and find a constructive solution.
The workplace should be a positive, comfortable place for employees to spend their days, so rude attitudes are simply unacceptable. Rudeness can be particularly problematic if it impacts your client relationships.
Any employee who’s rude to a colleague or client should be reminded of your company policies around workplace attitudes. Official cautions or more severe disciplinary action might be required if it becomes a persistent problem.
3. Resistance to working with others
Healthy collaboration is at the heart of most productive workplaces, so ideally all members of staff will have a positive attitude towards working with others.
If some people seem reluctant to contribute to the team, there might be other issues at play, such as social anxiety, stress or worries in their personal life. Having one-on-one conversations and trying to find ways of working that suit the individuals in your team can be much more effective than expecting everyone to behave in the same way.
Workplace bullying is, unfortunately, a common problem. It can have a major impact on the health and happiness of your workforce and the productivity of the business.
Every employer should enforce a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, and all claims and complaints made by employees should be thoroughly investigated.
As a manager, you should always be on the lookout for signs of workplace bullying - such as certain individuals being unfairly treated or excluded by their peers - and prepared to take disciplinary action against anyone found to have engaged in it.
5. Lack of discretion
Discretion is often an important and valuable trait in employees, particularly those who handle sensitive data relating to other members of the workforce or your clients.
Indiscreet practices - such as gossiping about the personal lives of co-workers or openly discussing information that a client has shared in confidence - are at best unprofessional, and at worst harmful to the business.
Some people might occasionally forget the importance of discretion, so an informal chat could help to remind them of the need to stay professional when they’re at work.
6. Having nothing positive to say
Constant negativity is a warning sign that someone is unhappy in their job and lacks the engagement or motivation required to do their best for the company. Furthermore, negative attitudes can swiftly spread and bring the entire workforce down.
When negativity starts to become a significant problem, encourage the employee to speak openly about their concerns and give their own recommendations about how things could improve. If no clear or workable solutions can be found, it’s worth asking if you want to continue your relationship with an unhappy worker who shows no interest in moving forward.
7. Not responding well to criticism
Everyone receives criticism at some point in their careers, and as long as it’s delivered in a tactful, constructive way, it can lead to welcome improvements in individual standards and productivity for the whole business.
Accepting negative feedback isn’t always easy, but employees should recognize the difference between understandable disappointment and showing an unprofessional, disrespectful attitude to anyone who offers constructive criticism.
If an employee fails to even listen to the views of others, or continues to work in a way only they think is best, it could indicate systemic problems that you should investigate immediately.