Rudeness In The Workplace - A Costly Culture

There is a new epidemic happening in our workplaces—it’s incivility or plain old rudeness. With 98 percent of participants in a US study reported experiencing workplace incivility, it’s a real cause for concern.

Some experts blame our increased use of technology for decreased eye contact which leads to less empathy. While others say, it’s our open offices that expose us to more noise, distraction and stress—pushing the rudeness button in some. No matter what the reason, we can’t ignore its impact on the workforce.

Although rudeness is subtler than harassment or bullying, leaders, left untreated it can cost your business in five significant ways:

Lost productivity It costs big productivity bucks. A study reported workplace incivility costs companies $14,000 per employee in lost productivity. Dealing with rudeness takes up precious mental and emotional energy from your workers.

Rudeness also impacts on teamwork. That’s because people who experience incivility are three times less likely to help others, preventing the team from performing at its best.

Staff turnover Ever talk to someone rude? Most of us just walk away. That’s true for staff too. According to research, 78 percent of workers said their commitment to the organisation declined after experiencing workplace incivility. That then translated to 12 percent leaving the job.

Unhappy customers Workplace rudeness can hurt the company’s income too. A whopping 25 percent of employees admit that as a result of experiencing uncivil behaviour, they took out their frustrations on customers. What’s more, your customers are less likely to buy from you if they encounter rudeness, whether directed at them or by observing your employees experience it.

Toxic culture Like a virus, the spread of rudeness can be difficult to contain and can result in ‘unhealthy’ company culture. Even small acts like ignoring a workmate or making a snarky remark leave a big dent in the overall culture. So, when we witness bad behaviour, we’re more likely to be rude to someone else too. Why does it matter? Because a lousy culture will breed the problems already mentioned above.

Poor wellbeing Workers who experience rudeness feel mentally fatigued, and that’s not something good leaders would ignore. After all, mental wellness, productivity and the success of your business are all linked.

On the flip side, a study revealed 56 percent of employees who got respect from leaders had better health and wellbeing and were more engaged than those who experienced rudeness.

Now ask yourself, are snide comments and rude behaviour just a small thing? Or could they be ominous drops that can turn into a deluge costing your business in performance, customer satisfaction and your most important asset—your people?

We’ll leave you to do the sums.