Workplace Misconduct

I have never heard of an employee leaving a job because they hated the color of the office walls. Do you remember the popular phrase “attitude is everything”? I never liked that phrase. Maybe I have an attitude problem. A more correct phrase, for small business, is that “efficiency is everything”. We obsess about highly efficient light bulbs or reduced water consumption to save pennies. Would it shock you that workplace misconduct is far more costly to your sustainable success than that over priced light bulb? According to the Ethics Resource Center, there are three workplace misconduct problems that account for a massive amount of inefficiency in a small business operation. Eliminating waste from your operations means cost savings. Cost savings means potentially higher profits and strategic advantage. Consider these three workplace misconduct issues for big impact:
  • Misuse of company time.
  • Violation of Internet policies.
  • Abusive behavior.
Misuse of company time could also be defined as theft. When you hire an employee, you compensate them for their talent and their time. Eight hours per day for eight hours of pay. You do not pay someone for six hours of work plus two hours of gossiping, internet surfing, socializing, etc. The science is not clear but some say that most employees give about four hours of true productivity out of an eight-hour work day. You do the math. Violation of internet use policies is not limited to an employee surfing the net instead of working. Consider that internet use policies are designed to protect companies against hacking, product and identity theft, and intellectual property. There are countless cases of employees violating internet use policies that inadvertently allow thieves into corporate website secured spaces. Employee morale is important for productivity and retention of top talent. Abusive behavior as workplace misconduct destroys morale and productivity. Bullys, gossip, incompetent leadership are all front line causes of poor retention, recruitment, and productivity. Remember that busy workers are often productive workers. Productive workers rarely have the time, energy,  or the chance to conduct abusive behavior. Before you obsess about the paint, the light bulbs, and the expensive low water consumption fixtures, consider your workplace misconduct policies. Remember that people rarely leave businesses, they leave managers. As the business owner, you are the leader. It is your responsibility to create the best workplace environment possible. Start with what matters most. How did you develop your workplace misconduct policies?
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