Consequences and Solutions to Workplace Incivility Actions

Author: Judi Clements
Consequences and solutions to workplace incivility actions is an area requiring deep study. What is civility? Civility is nothing but knowing all our actions have consequences, anticipating them before we act. Civility also comprises considering the feelings & comfort of others, treating others the best way, thereby urging them to do the same in return, being mindful of the dignity of the human beings in your space, taking care not to demean them. Incivility is inconsiderate words & actions that are: disrespectful, inconsiderate, tactless, insensitive and rude. It is a violation of the norms of collaboration & good communication that lead to an unsafe, unpleasant, & unproductive workplace. Examples of acute incivility are: bullying at workplace, harassment at work, discrimination in the workplace, job discrimination and hostile work environment.
Consequences of Incivility
The consequence of incivility are impaired performance, decreased motivation, loss of productivity, sickness, increased absences, higher healthcare costs, higher turnover, law suits and stress.
Adverse Effects of Incivility
Incivility eats up management time & productivity. According to Fortune Magazine, managers spend as much as 13% of their time (7 weeks a year) mending employee relationships & replacing workers who leave due to incivility. Victims of incivility may take out their frustrations on customers. Victims often sue their former employers for emotional distress or hostile work environment.
Incivility Leading To Employee Turnover
More than 1/2 of the targets of incivility consider leaving their job; 1 out of 8 does. When incivility drives employees away, they rarely report it in exit interviews. Thus incivility can continue to grow monstrously.
Developing a Civility Culture
Get top management buy-in & involvement. Form a cross-functional civility task force. Implement an organizational civility code. Get input on your civility code from all employees. Publish your civility code in your handbook & post it throughout the organization. Offer civility training & discussion groups. Encourage employees to come forward with complaints. Have civility games & rewards. It is always legally prudent & cost-effective to put a civility program in place before you really need one.
Challenges in Teaching Civility
You may have to overcome organizational resistance for civility training. You may have to differentiate it from etiquette training. You should remove any moral overtones to your training curricula by being nice to all attendees.
Teaching Civility as a Communication Skill
Teach civility as a tangible skill that will help people do their jobs better, more easily, and more enjoyably and help them avoid a hostile work environment & possible legal liability.

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