Survey suggests childish behaviour is common in the workplace
Whining, pouting and temper tantrums are no longer confined to elementary school playgrounds or reality TV show reunions: such adolescent behaviour is also prevalent in today's workplace. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, three in four employees (77 per cent) have witnessed some type of childish behaviour among colleagues in the workplace.
Top 10 Adolescent Behaviours in the Workplace
When asked which childlike behaviours they've witnessed colleagues displaying in the workplace, workers gave the following answers:
• Whine: 55 per cent
• Pout over something that didn't go his/her way: 46 per cent
• Tattle on another co-worker: 44 per cent
• Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 per cent
• Make a face behind someone's back: 35 per cent
• Form a clique: 32 per cent
• Start a rumour about a co-worker: 30 per cent
• Storm out the room: 29 per cent
• Throw a tantrum: 27 per cent
• Refuse to share resources with others: 23 per cent
Real-Life Incidents of Childishness at Work
These behaviours do not go unnoticed to management and higher ups, either. When asked to name specific immature or adolescent behaviours they have seen at work, employers reported the following observations of one or more employees:
• Company owner threw tantrums, yelled and slammed doors when he didn't get his way.
• Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
• Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
• Employee ate other employees' food from the company refrigerator.
• Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
• Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, then pretended to be their advocate.
• Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cellphone and showed it to her “clique”.
• Employee went to lunch and never came back.
Playing around or playing with fire?
“Some degree of what we may consider ‘adolescent' conduct can be harmless, enabling employees to let off some steam and even promote a sense of camaraderie in the office,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “But there's a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behaviour. Actions like spreading rumours, ‘tattling,' and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment.”
Displaying adolescent behaviour in the workplace can also take a toll on one's professional brand. An earlier 2015 CareerBuilder survey among employers found that certain adolescent behaviours can have a negative impact on an employee's chances of being promoted, including:
• Negativity: a majority of employers (62 per cent) say they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or pessimistic attitude (whining, pouting, etc).
• Vulgar language: More than half of employers (51 per cent) consider vulgar language an indication that an employee is not ready for promotion.
• Gossip: Nearly half of employers (44 per cent) say they would think twice before moving an employee who participates in office gossip up the ranks.
• Sloppiness: Employees who do not clean up after themselves can hurt their chances for a promotion in the eyes of 36 per cent of employers.
These surveys were conducted online within the US by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,532 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed) and 3,039 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 14 and June 3, 2015.