Identifying Organizational Costs
Let's talk a little bit about organizational costs and organizational opportunities. There was a study that was conducted at the University of North Carolina. It was a broad study. It was an extensive study. They looked at incivility in the workplace. They interviewed over 1400 people. Over half of those people had experienced an act of incivility in the last year. They used a definition for incivility or rudeness that's very similar to the definition I've given you already. It was something that caused emotional harm or distress but wasn't so egregious that it was likely to get you fired. So what are we talking about? Can be anything. Could be something quite simple. The example that I like to put in my mind is a minor infraction. We talked when we did the word association about etiquette about greetings, the importance of first encounters. Think about that moment when you walk into the office in the morning, or imagine someone walking into the office, and they've just got a lot on th...
eir plate. They've got a lot on their mind. They're thinking about all the work that they have to do that day, that important meeting that's happening in the afternoon or presentation. They're so focused on that as they walk in, they don't say hi to the people that they see. They just go straight to their desk and get to work. You ever hear counting tiles? Someone's walking around counting tiles. They're just counting tiles on the floor or on the ceiling. They're not looking other people in the eye. They're not engaging. I've got so much to do today. I just get outta my car, go straight to my desk, get to work. Is it terrible? No. Maybe it feels to you like you're doing something important, that you're working hard. But how does it feel to that person that you walk past in the hallway and don't say hi to? Are they mad at me? Is everything okay with them? Are they upset? Is it something that I did? We don't know other people's good intentions. I'm gonna walk in and get to work today. I'm gonna focus on what I do. I've got this big thing that's happening in the afternoon. I'm just gonna, I'm gonna go straight to my desk and I'm gonna get to work. Other people don't give us the credit of those good intentions. So a minor infraction. When they did this study, they started to look at the impacts of this incivility, both how you experienced it and the resulting impact. How many people do you think lost work time avoiding that instigator, avoiding the person who didn't say hi to them? Ugh, that person's just kind of a bad mood today. I'm gonna let them get a cup of coffee before I go talk to 'em. Oh, I could go down this hallway or that hallway. I'm just gonna go down that, I'm not gonna walk past her office right now. I'm gonna let her get her wheels under her before I go talk to her. How many people do you think lost work time just avoiding the instigator? Yeah, a pretty substantial portion. About 30% of people. I would. They're not in a great mood. I'm gonna go talk to them around lunchtime, maybe. Get some food in their belly. What percentage of people do you think lost their work time worrying? Sat down at their desk, and the first thing they thought wasn't, what do I have to do today? But it was, is that person upset? Is that person angry at me? Maybe you didn't change what you did, but it just impacted you mentally. It impacted your capacity to do work, your ability to focus on what you had to do. If you're thinking, yeah, probably even more people, the percentage is probably climbing, you're right. Something closer to 50%. It's a pretty common impact that this type of bad behavior has on people. Sort of insidious. It starts to infect your mind, the way that you think and perceive. How many people do you think copped to intentionally decreasing their work effort? If that's the way I get treated around here, we'll see when they get that report they're waiting for. I see the nodding. I'm gonna tell you, this isn't one of those situations where the numbers keep rising through every one. It's a slightly smaller percentage. Something like 22%. But it does happen. This is a result of rude behavior. Man, people don't even say hi to you around here. I think that they're upset about, I think that this person's nervous about that thing they've gotta do this afternoon. We'll see if they have the courage to come ask me for my help with that. I've got a pretty good idea how you could execute for that. Instead of, oh, I know him, I know her. She's got a lot on her mind, but she's always so friendly. I'm gonna see if I can go help out. Intentionally decrease their work effort. We'll see when they get that. I appreciate the honesty in the room. Yeah, yeah, I could see myself doing that. It's a real impact. This one really surprised me. Actually left their job. Out of people that were surveyed, were interviewed, a certain percentage actually left their job. What was the most common reason those people who left their place of employment gave for leaving their place of employment? It's hard to get someone to walk away from a salary, from a paying job or position. What's the most common reason people give for leaving a job? Besides salary. I didn't feel respected. I didn't feel appreciated. I didn't like working there. I didn't like the way I was treated. We're gonna talk about personal brand, about image. There are image assessments that are personal. There are image assessments that are done by organizations. One of the most powerful tools or systems for assessing an organization is a 360 degree reach assessment. That's where you get reports on people both from the people that they report to, but also the people that report to them. So you ask people on both sides of an organizational hierarchy what they think of each other. But you also look for people that have left the organization and you talk to them about why they left. When you're talking to everybody who's still working there, you get a certain picture. When you start talking to people who've left an organization, when you start talking to people that don't like you, you start getting a very different perspective. I didn't feel appreciated. I didn't feel respected. People don't even say hi to each other in the morning. I just couldn't, I didn't like going to work every day. I couldn't wait to get outta there. If I was in a room with an HR professional, I'd say, how much does it cost to replace a person? How much does it cost to get someone back in a desk after someone's left? It varies from industry to industry. Sort of an easy tool for thinking about it, it costs about twice an annual salary, whatever that is. By the time you've searched, recruited, trained, got someone back up to speed, where someone who's left was operating at, about two times what it cost to keep that person sitting there to begin with. Talk about organizational costs. That's a huge cost. You can also look at the cost of some of these other impacts. You can use worker productivity. Not how much you pay someone, but how much someone earns for you. Usually more than what you pay them. And you can use a time assessment that says, boy, half of our work force was experiencing incivility once in this last month, once in this last year, whatever that time frame is. You can say, 'cause we got a number of incidents of incivility. And then we have a certain percentage of the people who experienced that incivility who had these outcomes. I lost work time worrying. I intentionally decreased... If you use a time guess about what amount of time impact that was, use productivity as a multiplier, you can start to calculate what these costs are. There's some incredible research done by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson about the cost of bad behavior. It's a book that I can't recommend highly enough. It's absolutely remarkable. You can calculate the cost of bad behavior. You can use very conservative guesstimates about what the time costs are, the number of incidents of incivility, and you start to see that the cost of incivility in organizations is incredible. I'm gonna tell you a little secret. The cost of incivility is about more than the person who experiences it directly. It also impacts the people that witness it. You yell at you. You feel terrible. Guess what? I'm sitting over here watching this happen. I feel terrible also. Once you start calculating the impact or effect this has on people who witness or experience it tangentially, you start to really see the costs ballooning. We're now starting to get into emotional intelligence territory. We talk about the way witnessing emotional harm or distress is triggering for people. The way that you score on emotional intelligence testing is a better predictor of your lifetime earning than the way you score on intelligence tests that measure IQ or intellectual intelligence. Emotional intelligence is fundamentally important to your success as an individual, but it's also important to how organizations function. So in the previous course lesson, I shared with you what I think of as the good news slide. Etiquette fundamentally isn't a system of rules. It's not codified behavior. It's about the quality of our lives, how our interactions impact us.
Do you have a hard time maintaining good manners and being considerate at work? It might be your attitude. When we look at acting with kindness and politeness as a burdensome obligation rather than something we want to do, we set ourselves up for unconsciously behaving badly.
This course addresses both the opportunities and the costs of good and bad personal skills and will help you focus on the former. Instead of getting trapped in the “Do I have to do this?” mode, you’ll learn how to seize opportunities to build relationships by focusing on the human connections that matter.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Approach etiquette as an opportunity rather than an obligation.
- Recognize organizational costs and address them.
- Identify the most likely instigators and take action.
- Provide leadership on courtesy at work.
- Identify emotional responses and take intentional action.
- Interrupt negative feedback loops caused by bad behavior.