CHICAGO, Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Whining, pouting and temper tantrums are no longer confined to elementary school playgrounds or reality TV show reunions: Such adolescent behavior is also prevalent in today's workplace. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 3 in 4 employees (77 percent) have witnessed some type of childish behavior among colleagues in the workplace.
The national online surveys were conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll between May 14 and June 3, 2015, and included a representative sample of more than 3,000 full-time, U.S. workers and more than 2,000 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes.
Top 10 Adolescent Behaviors in the Workplace
When asked which child-like behaviors they've witnessed colleagues displaying in the workplace, workers gave the following answers:
- 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
- Form a clique: 32 percent
- Start a rumor about a co-worker: 30 percent
- Storm out of the room: 29 percent
- Throw a tantrum: 27 percent
- Refuse to share resources with others: 23 percent
Real-Life Incidents of Childishness at Work
These behaviors do not go unnoticed to management and higher ups, either. When asked to name specific immature or adolescent behaviors they have seen at work, employers reported the following observations of one or more employees:
- Company owner threw tantrums, yelled and slammed doors when he didn't get his way.
- Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
- Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
- Employee ate other employees' food from the company refrigerator.
- Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
- Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, then pretended to be their advocate.
- Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cell phone and showed it to her "clique."
- Employee went to lunch and never came back.
Playing Around or Playing with Fire?
"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," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. "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."
Displaying adolescent behavior in the workplace can also take a toll on one's professional brand. An earlier 2015 CareerBuilder survey among employers found that certain adolescent behaviors can have a negative impact on an employee's chances of being promoted, including:
- Negativity: A majority of employers (62 percent) say they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or pessimistic attitude (whining, pouting, etc.).
- Vulgar language: More than half of employers (51 percent) consider vulgar language an indication that an employee is not ready for promotion.
- Gossip: Nearly half of employers (44 percent) say they would think twice before moving an employee who participates in office gossip up the ranks.
- Sloppiness: Employees who do not clean up after themselves can hurt their chances for a promotion in the eyes of 36 percent of employers.
These surveys were conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,532 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed) and 3,039 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 14 and June 3, 2015. With pure probability samples of 2,532 and 3,039, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 1.95 and +/- 1.78 percentage points, respectively.
The earlier 2015 survey referenced was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,175 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 11 and March 6, 2015. With a pure probability sample of 2,175, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.10 percentage points.
As the global leader in human capital solutions, CareerBuilder specializes in cutting-edge HR software as a service to help companies with every step of the recruitment process from acquire to hire. CareerBuilder works with top employers across industries, providing job distribution, sourcing, workflow, CRM, data and analytics in one pre-hire platform. It also operates leading job sites around the world. Owned by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE:TGNA), Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.