Responding to Workplace Incivility

Workplace incivility affects not only employees, but also the organization and its brand. An environment where incivility is tolerated can lead to Human Resource issues including: retention problems, lack of engagement, decreased quality of work, gossip, avoidance of offenders, and even potential lawsuits.  

A study done by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath in their book The Cost of Bad Behavior found that organizations often do not realize the effect of uncivil behavior on turnover. Departing employees may not report their real reason for leaving. As a result, metrics used to determine turnover rates are inaccurate.

What can you do to fight workplace incivility? 
·         Obtain buy-in from top management
·         Set clear expectations about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior
·         Do a yearly blind survey to determine the overall sentiment of your employee population
·         Provide training or workshops to ensure all employees hear the same message in the same way
·         Do not make excuses for the behavior, no matter how valuable the employee
·         Invest in exit interviews, do face-to-face interviews, dive deeper than multiple choice questions, and do something with the results.
Although there is no quick fix for workplace incivility, HR should focus on understanding the current gaps and take steps to tailor measures to their organization.