How to deal with unacceptable employee behaviour?

Every organisation is unique and has its own standards. But some employee behaviors are generally unacceptable.

Jan 17 | 4 min read

An employee storming out of the room all red in the face and fuming with expletives can hardly be considered as acceptable behavior. Neither can the behavior of a rather malicious individual who doles out impressive reports but tarnishes the image of others by spreading ugly rumours! Unacceptable employee behavior can thus be defined as behavior that is unworthy of the organizational environment which can negatively affect its work atmosphere and create disturbance in the working environment. Apart from these, other serious noticeable offences may be using office infrastructure for unlawful activities, behavior that is sexually offensive towards colleagues, turning up to work in an intoxicated state etc.

It goes unsaid that a healthy work atmosphere that focuses on team work, work ethics, mutual respect and coordination works wonders for organizations. In such scenarios inappropriate employee behavior can be extremely distasteful and demeaning to others.  Unlike concrete instances of work deficiency like irregular work submission or unpreparedness for tasks; inappropriate behavior might appear to be independent of job performance but it definitely creates a huge impact on the work environment. It may often be noted that some employees may be particularly good at their work but they may have behavioral issues which disturb those around them. Often supervisors neglect these behavioral issues considering the value of the employee. This is not a good idea since a work environment that's free of inappropriate behavior is highly essential to help other employees perform productively. The behavior of an employee should not cause stress and adverse effects on the mental framework of others. This can affect the organizations productivity and can cost the organization significant resources.  It is essential to ensure employee job satisfaction to retain the most qualified employees.  According to a 2011 AARP study, the cost to replace an unskilled is as high as 50 percent of the employee's first year's salary for training and other routine expenses. It is thus in the benefit of an organization to retain employees by maintaining a healthy work environment.

It is crucial that unacceptable behavior does not go unnoticed. It is highly important that there are firm indicators of unacceptable behavior which has to be made known to employees’ before-hand. A serious note of unacceptable behavior should be made to prevent other employees from feeling demoralised. It should be understood that each individual would be held responsible and accountable for his/her actions and words and thus they must be careful about their own demeanor. The incident should be taken note of and recorded for official purposes. The employee should be questioned and a note of the responses given and conditions at the time of inappropriate behavior should be made. If two parties are involved in the incident, both parties must be given equal opportunity to voice their grievances. Evidences can be collected by checking with reliable sources and checking with CC TV cameras. It is essential that the investigating agency is fair and consistent in all cases. Employees should not feel discriminated against and there should be ample supportive evidence to prove this. The supervisor to the concerned person and the HR should be involved in seeking opinions and taking decisions. In certain situations where group viewpoints can be helpful, the office group may be consulted for their view points. But the final decision should be taken by the HR in tandem with the seniors, management and company rules and policies. It is then crucial that the cases are followed up and the employees are observed to ensure that there are no repeat incidents. Employees who have erred earlier but show reform can be motivated by positive feedback and encouragement.

Behavior ethics play a key role in affirming the worth of an organization. It speaks volumes about the core vision and ethos of an organization. Thus it is crucial to ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensure a great working atmosphere for all.

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