The culture of an organisation largely influences how its employees behave and perform. Similarly, employee behaviour also contributes to the overall office culture. In other words, one cannot be seen in isolation from the other.
Take Google for instance, which is known for its amazing and unique culture. Google’s hiring process is equally unique which challenges applicants to think under pressure and bring solutions to the table – one of the behavioural traits they want their employees to display if they get hired! After all, it’s the people hired today that determine the future of the organisation and ultimately contribute to and develop the office culture by way of their everyday behaviour.
But what constitutes employee behaviour? Is it their performance? Is it their workplace etiquette? Is it their enthusiasm to represent the brand positively? Is it their corporate social responsibility efforts? Well, it is all of this and more.
Employee behaviour is defined as an employee’s reaction to different situations that arise in the course of day-to-day affairs of an organisation.
How the employees of an organisation carry themselves speaks volumes about the business and has a huge influence on the overall corporate image.
Let’s have a detailed look into this aspect called employee behaviour and why it is so important!
Importance of Employee Behaviour
Employee behaviour is central to a successful and productive workplace. It forms the basis of various HR functions such as recognition and rewards, salary and compensation as well as succession planning. In the absence of all these, one cannot determine an employee’s merit and it is not possible to keep an organisation running smoothly. This is why employee behaviour is an indispensable aspect that has to be looked into.
What’s interesting is that how employees behave at their workplace is not the only important thing. In the tech-savvy and social media inclined work cultures of today, it is very important for employees to keep a check on their online image as it can have a direct impact on the image of the organisation they work for. Many cases prevail wherein employees have unleashed their negative energy on social media which put a bad light on the employer’s brand, ultimately affecting business. Also, it becomes hard to attract good talent to the team if negative online reviews abound. Nearly 90% of job seekers do not prefer working for a company with a bad reputation, which means most of them simply let go of job offers from organisations which have average reviews of 1 or 1.5 stars.
Employee behaviour, therefore, is not just a simple factor that can be kept on the back-burner. In fact, it is even more important than the balance sheet of an organisation as it is impossible to manage good numbers without having well-behaved employees onboard!
Here are certain points which highlight the importance of employee behaviour:
A collaborative team environment where people can work with each other toward shared goals is possible to achieve through an attitude of cohesiveness. Likewise, unprofessional behaviour kills team spirit which rapidly derails progress in achieving organisational objectives.
A positive work environment, where employees are well-behaved, leads to increased morale. Similarly, a workplace rife with negative energy in the form of unhealthy competition, hostility and bias leads to low morale, higher absenteeism and high turnover.
Productivity is the outcome of some of the best attitudes that employees possess. Employees who strive to work in tandem with the organisational goals and achieve expected results as opposed to employees who indulge in blame games or unnecessary disagreements, end up lowering team productivity. This ultimately has a ripple effect on the business in the form of angry clients, increased costs, dissent, etc.
As mentioned earlier, job seekers have multiple tools available today to figure out the work culture and the inner workings of a company. If anything points toward unprofessional employee behaviour being the norm at a certain workplace, they might choose to stay away from it or even if they do end up joining, they may soon leave because of the toxic environment.
Ways to Encourage Positive Employee Behaviour
Organisations prefer employees who exhibit positive behaviours that can truly take their business to the pinnacle of success. Everybody wants great performers, initiative takers, excellent communications, leaders and the list goes on. However, employees are ultimately human beings with unique individual personalities. Therefore, it can be quite baffling for a manager to influence them and inculcate the desired behaviours in their employees.
Here are certain ways which can help them achieve the same:
The first and foremost method to identify the intrinsic motivations behind employee behaviour is being extremely observant. Managers have to keep their eyes and ears open to ensure that a particular employee’s behaviour aligns with the needs and expectations of the organisation. At the same time, if their behaviour does not fall in line soon, it is also important to hold people accountable. This will instil a sense of responsibility toward behaving in the expected manner.
One of the best ways to foster positive employee behaviour, and therefore a better work environment is through making better hiring decisions. Hiring people with underlying values that align with those of the organisation means managers have more time on hand to focus on employee development and succession planning.The interview process should be inclusive of human behaviour assessments that measure psychological traits, behavioural styles, and personal values, all of which are an important indicator of behaviour on the job. Click To Tweet
Model Expected Behaviours
As the saying goes, an apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Employees are sure to model the same behaviour that their leaders exude. As leaders, it is of the utmost importance to assume responsibility for one’s behaviour in order to set a positive example for employees. This is one of the best ways to reinforce positive behaviour and create new standards of excellence.
Understand and Act
Behind every negative behaviour, there exists a cause and a motive. While this is no excuse for such behaviour, it certainly gives managers vital clues when it comes to dealing with it. Employees are humans, and therefore can have ‘human’ motives stemming from emotional insecurities such as wanting to please everyone which, in turn, is a manifestation of poor self-esteem. As a manager, a big part of correcting behaviours involves listening, understanding, and empathising with employees, in order to finally be able to drive the behaviour you want to see.
Managers cannot expect employees to read their mind or pick up on non-verbal cues regarding favourable behaviours. In fact, most employees find themselves confused about what is expected out of them simply because managers fail to emphasise or clearly state the same. It is critical for managers to be vocal and articulate about the kind of behaviour they want their employees to exhibit.
The more they talk about it, the more likely they are to get it. Having said that, it is important to not just reinforce professional behaviour verbally, but also to document it in a manner that is constantly visible to employees. Make it a part of all staff communications, employee handbooks and other in-person communications in a way that gives employees adequate exposure throughout the day.
Positive employee behaviour is also the outcome of clear and consistent expectations that should come from managers. If managers are not clear about the expected set of behaviours that should come from employees, chaos and confusion prevail. It will only send mixed signals, which is why one of the best ways to encourage positive employee behaviour is to be consistent in what one perceives to be positive behaviour.
How to Reward Positive Employee Behaviour?
The most basic of all human needs is the need to feel valued and appreciated. Coming across positive employee behaviour and not recognising the same is nothing short of criminal. Moreover, positive reinforcement is actually pretty simple. This is why it is critical to reward the behaviour that the manager needs and it is very much likely to be repeated. By rewarding good behaviour, managers can ensure that the same behaviour occurs again.
Here are certain ways to reward employee behaviours:
It does not cost a dime but has tremendous positive ramifications. Taking out time to appreciate the behaviour of an employee is the most meaningful way to show that a manager cares.A simple handwritten note or a private conversation which includes praise and appreciation for the quality of work done acts as a greatly rewarding experience for the employee, thus giving them an ideal to live up to. Click To Tweet
While appreciating someone one-on-one certainly has its own charm, another way to reward employee behaviour is to showcase the same in front of the entire organisation. Put up a leader board and showcase the best behaviours displayed by employees from different business functions such as sales, operations, customer service, support, etc. This gives employees the opportunity to lead by example and be an inspiration to their colleagues.
Delegating tasks to deserving employees goes a long way in building confidence and self-esteem in them. The best way to reward positive work behaviour is to allow them more freedom and resist the urge to micromanage such employees. This fosters trust and motivates them to take on challenging roles within the company, enabling them to chart new career goals and achieve them successfully.
Remote and flexible working is one of the most amazing benefits an employer can offer as a way of rewarding positive work behaviour. According to a study, 76% of the workers would be more willing to stay on with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
Flexible work schedules are the need of the hour, especially for millennials, and including the same in a company’s reward systems is a great way to boost positive work behaviours.
Positive Employee Behavioural Traits
While the advantages of appreciating and rewarding positive employee behaviour are many, it is important to know which behavioural traits are worthy of being rewarded. Here are a few:
Passion is a great trait to possess, and employees who do are hard to miss. Such employees exude a sense of positivity and attract people to them. They question things and encourage meaningful discussions.
An open mind is a magnet that attracts new ideas. Employees who do not hesitate to try out new ways of working or are open to experiments are more likely to stumble upon new discoveries, thus giving them a better chance at productive work.
Such employees are good at building relationships with their coworkers and soon find their way around the business. They have a natural curiosity about how other departments work, the company’s values, how different departments collaborate with each other to produce work, etc.
Employee behaviour that is customer-centric should be rewarded. Such employees think from the perspective of their customer and work towards improving company processes which ultimately benefits the end customer.
Good communication is a common quality of effective employees. They focus on communicating with their fellow team members clearly, making discussions quick and sharp, instead of wasting time on unwanted gossip.
Hunger for learning new skills and adding to their acquired skill set is another attitude that any manager would want their employees to possess. Employees who are constantly adding new skills to their resume deserve to be recognised.
Employees that proactively focus on improving workflows or internal processes are a boon to an organisation. They know that the final product is actually the by-product of everything going on within the company and come up with suggestions for improving existing systems and procedures.
Issues related to human resources can tear at the very fabric of the company, chipping away even the most solid foundations built on some of the best services or products. Therefore, an understanding of employee behaviours and a solid rewards and recognition program are a must for every organisation to venture forward on the path to success.