Rudeness at work seems to be on the rise. In a survey by Professors Porath and Pearson, 40% of respondents said they had ‘no time to be nice’ and 25% said they were rude because their bosses behaved that way. We live in a busy world and people have many demands on their time. That’s not news, but in the words of Harry Hart (quoting William Horman) in Kingsman: The Secret Service, “manners maketh man”. Something has obviously gone wrong. Is politeness a thing of the past?
What’s the impact of rudeness?
There’s a great opportunity for business leaders and senior managers to have a positive impact on this issue, and ensure everyone in their business is treated respectfully as a result. 48% of employees on the receiving end of rudeness intentionally decreased their work effort and 47% intentionally decreased the quality of their work. Rudeness at work causes commitment to decline, turnover to increase, productivity to plummet and recruitment costs to increase. By creating a polite and respectful workplace, commitment and productivity will increase and your turnover and recruitment costs will decrease, because you’ll be able to attract and retain the best talent.
What can you do?
Small changes can make a big difference, so here are our top tips for creating a respectful workplace.
- Be friendly, greet people warmly, say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’.
- Give 100% of your attention in meetings. Put your phone down and engage in the matter at hand. The meeting will probably be shorter and more focussed as a result.
- Listen to your team members’ thoughts and ideas – they may be on to something.
- Make it clear that rudeness won’t be tolerated and there are no excuses for it. If you make politeness part of day to day interactions, it will be contagious, so the impact could be huge.
- If you see rudeness, address it directly, and encourage employees to report any incidents to their line manager.
- Establish a staff forum where employees can share concerns with a nominated senior team member and discuss how the concerns could be addressed.
- Hire and retain employees who exhibit the ‘right’ behaviours.
- Lead by example, regardless of who you’re talking to and your own stress levels.
- Carry out exit interviews to find out what employees really think.
- Train and coach line managers in respectful people management practices.
If you’re concerned about behaviours in your company and want to discuss ideas on how to address it, get in touch.