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Workplace pressure, the need for greater and faster results, a fast-changing environment and cut throat competition driven by rapidly changing technology and market trends are some of the key challenges redefining the workplace today.

As a result, stress levels are going up and many times incivility expressed in form of rudeness, tantrums, and belittling, especially of subordinates is where it all ends up, according to HR consultant Joan Nakaye.

Usually, employees feel ignored, disrespected and undermined when operating in this kind of environment. Nakaye says the workplace consequently becomes tense, uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable for employees.

Employees in such cases leave not because they are not up to the task but because the environment is too hostile for them to peacefully work and produce results. In a research conducted by a top global consultancy firm, Mckinsey and Company, between 1998 and 2016 focusing on how tens of thousands of workers were treated at the workplace and the consequences of this, 50% of workers said they were treated rudely at work at least once a month.

This figure rose to 55% in 2011 and 62% in 2016, showing there is a growing trend of employee mistreatment at work. The research points to the changing mode in the way people work, with more working away from the office and making fewer connections with others as one of the possible causes.

Growing narcissism among younger employees, especially those who individually see themselves as more important than anything else in the office and a clash of cultures as many workplaces become global in nature are the other reasons the research says could be the cause of this callousness.

All this is made easier with the use of email, text and all forms of remote communication, where you can dress down and insult a colleague without the need to go face-to-face. While many employers and managers still think this is something that can be ignored, research has proven otherwise.

Prof. Christine Pearson of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, who performed part of the research with Mckinsey after interviewing over 800 managers across 17 industries, noted that performance went down continuously as a result of incivility.

“Among those who felt disrespected, 47% deliberately decreased time spent at work, 38% confessed to deliberately decreasing their quality of work, 66% of this group admitted their performance declined while 78% reported falling commitment to the organizations they were working for,” she said.

Further findings in the research shows 80% of employees who faced incivility at work lost productive time worrying about the incident while 63% of those affected by incivility lost productive time trying to avoid their offender.

About 25% of the people interviewed in the research who felt their employers were being uncivil towards them took it out on the customers who in turn resented the company and its products.

Often times, even if just a few employees are treated unfairly, the word goes around which creates a generalization about the company as being unfair to employees.

Collaboration and teamwork is also killed by incivility, according to the research. Way out Get rid of the uncivil people before they join your organization.

Create a system of accountability within your organization that promotes civil behavior and punish incivility strongly to discourage it.

Coming up with guidelines and metrics on civility that can be shared across an organization is also recommended. Respecting subordinates is key when it comes to winning over employees’ loyalty and commitment.

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