We are in a civility crisis!

It is, without a doubt, Time for Change.  Managers, if you are witnessing this all the time, or if you are a party to this, you and your workplace are in trouble. You need to practice workplace civility.  A toxic workplace will impact your profit and retention of employees,  Success these days can be measured in terms of appropriate engagement with staff and customers.  But you are not alone.  Perhaps it is time to check out a civility expert to get help.

We are smack in the middle a series of civility crises, and they are “going viral.”  Research on both Canadian and U.S. companies show that a whopping 98% of people have experienced uncivil behavior on the job.  In short, rudeness in the workplace is systemic and epidemic.  Evidence that the incivility virus impacts, among other things, our productivity; our ability to work together; our creativity; and our health, it grows proportionately in its seriousness.

But incivility isn’t just a North American problem.  For example, a study of British workers found that 40% had experienced incivility or disrespect over a two-year period, with such behavior particularly common in the public sector.  In a study of Australian workers, researchers from Edith Cowan University found that 70% had experienced rudeness or mistreatment by their coworkers.   A Canadian study by Bar-David Consulting and Canadian HR Reporter shows incivility affects key business indicators as reported by Human Resource professionals:  90% say it hurts collaboration; 78% say it affects talent retention; 52% say it affects brand reputation; 92% agree incivility has negative effects on productivity; 80% report an impact on absenteeism.

Data collected from employees from various organizations in Singapore shows that incivility is not a rare phenomenon in Asian cultures either.  Results of a study of Korean workplaces offered evidence of an unfortunate relationship between the experience of workplace incivility and the intention to leave the organization.  More specifically, it was found that if one experiences workplace incivility, then he/she is more likely to leave the organization. I’m sure if we kept digging we could find statistics about the negative impact of incivility in workplaces around the globe.

One of the statistics I found particularly concerning was that 43% of millennials (the generation born between the 1980’s to early 2000) reported expecting to experience incivility in the next 24 hours.  It’s no wonder, then, that more than 50% of people polled said they believe civility will get worse in the next few years.  While this is not surprising, it means that incivility is travelling down through the generations and if not contained, it will continue. Should we not already be very concerned that a whole generation of future leaders is growing accustomed to living and working in a world where bullying, a lack of respect and restraint, uncivil discourse, racism, and countless other toxic behaviors are the norm?  Has the incivility virus become so strong that living with it is easier than fighting it?  Given that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over his/ her lifetime, it is not a stretch to surmise that the workplace is where many of us catch the incivility virus.