Rudeness at work – we’ve all seen it and experienced it at some point or another. Turns out, it’s kind of a big deal. What was once just chalked up to a less than savory encounter is now a bona fide productivity drain.
In an interesting article from Fast Company, the author identifies how victims of rude behavior actually experience brain changes that reduce productivity. For instance, according to the article, the brain becomes more in tune to rude behavior and starts to devote more energy into noticing and interpreting negative interactions with the end result being less energy available for more productive interests, among other things. Further, it spreads like a plague. Rude behavior begets more rude behavior and before you know it, you’ve got a workplace culture problem (and probably turnover) on your hands.
In alignment with the findings of this article from Fast Company, we at Empathia have long known that workplace culture is a significant contributor to workplace productivity – or lack thereof. What employees experience in the workplace makes a direct difference in their overall behavior and perceptions.
In recent years, there has been more effort by organizations to collect information about employee engagement and attitudes in the workplace. Most of us have probably taken an employee engagement survey or two through a standardized assessment.
As professionals in human behavior, we are starting to see an evolution of these assessments that go beyond just identifying workplace attitudes. For instance, our own culture assessment tool helps organizations to identify the behaviors that employees are actually seeing and experiencing in the workplace. This helps to provide a roadmap for where good and bad employee behaviors are stemming from and where to focus remediation efforts, if necessary.
By identifying target behaviors, an organization can help to train managers on exemplifying what they believe are valued behaviors and eliminating or reducing the bad behaviors. This takes the “lead by example” adage and puts it into a practical application. In our own experience, the proof is in the pudding. We help organizations to assess before and after so that they can see if their efforts are paying off.
We might not ever eliminate rude people, but with any luck and perseverance, we can discourage rude behavior at work. And who knows, with that small change, we might find our own productivity, attitude and perception driving into ever more positive territory.