5 Employee Behaviors that Undermine Success

Julie Shenkman
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Human resources managers often cannot tell exactly how a hired employee will perform on the job, and as a result, managers sometimes have to deal with negative employee behaviors that harm both morale and productivity. Take swift but sensitive action to nip behaviors that undermine success in the bud and prevent them from affecting other employees.

According to the National Business Research Institute, abusing sick leave is number one on the list of employee behaviors that bosses can't stand. Due to the fact that sick days normally do not roll over into the next year, faking illness is especially common in the later months of the year. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year during which annual economic and productivity requirements need to be met.

Poor time management is another employee behavior that harms productivity, and it can include repeatedly showing up late for work, returning late from breaks and taking longer than necessary to complete assignments. The seriousness of this behavior prompts immediate intervention from a manager to help the employee begin taking steps to improve performance.

When an employee exhibits a bad attitude, this can lead to conflict with other employees, a hostile work environment and poor team morale. Although some leniency can be given to employees if they are just having a bad day, an uncooperative, griping, cynical or aggressive attitude should never be a regular occurrence. Try to work with the employee to discover what the underlying issue leading to this employee behavior is before making any assumptions about personality.

Another employee behavior to watch out for is disregard of company policies and regulations. Policies regarding social media use at work, utilization of company email and utilization of office equipment are often abused, leading to an unprofessional atmosphere and often affecting productivity. Although rules may be bent on occasion, you must use caution when doing this for an employee, as coworkers will be expect similar treatment. If one employee is allowed to disregard a rule for any reason, other employees can easily become envious and frustrated, creating a hostile work environment.

A fifth employee behavior that can undermine success is laziness regarding factual accuracy in work assignments. Even the misspelling of a name or the switching of two numbers can make an otherwise well-written report appear sloppy and unprofessional. This in turn casts the organization in a negative light, so immediate confrontation is essential if you notice factual errors becoming a trend.

According to Time magazine, it is important to collect information from various sources before deciding that an employee is exhibiting a problem behavior. Keep in mind that your goal is to help the employee to improve rather than provide punishment, and speak to the employee in a quiet, private location to provide adequate discretion. If applicable, follow up with the employee at a specified date and time to track progress.


(Photo courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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