Move over, Real Housewives — adolescent behaviors appear to be rampant in corporate America as well. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, a whopping 77 percent of employees admitted they have witnessed childishness in action while on the job.
What constitutes adolescent behavior, you ask? Here are the top five most commonly cited offenses:
- Whine (55 percent)
- Pout over something that didn’t go his/her way (46 percent)
- Tattle on another co-worker (44 percent)
- Play a prank on another co-worker (36 percent)
- Make a face behind someone’s back (35 percent)
What are we, 12? Believe it or not, these are real-life instances of childishness employees have come across. As you might imagine, some of these behaviors are particularly repulsive to employers and can even hinder promotion decisions.
For example, more than 3 in 5 (62 percent) of employers are less likely to promote employees with a negative or pessimistic attitude; more than half of employers (51 percent) take a similar approach with employees who use vulgar language; and nearly half of employers (44 percent) think twice before promoting the office gossip machines.
What does this mean for you?
As Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder, says:
“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. But there’s a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behavior. Actions like spreading rumors, ‘tattling,’ and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment.”
Not that it’s your job to babysit employees, but it might be a good idea to do quick pulse checks with employees at regular intervals to determine if there are multiple complaints of inappropriate work behaviors. In some cases, managers may need to step in and ensure that more serious behaviors, such as bullying, aren’t impacting the team.