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We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule, and it seems like a simple enough idea. Treat others how you want to be treated. But this basic concept seems to go out the window when we walk into our places of work. Workplace incivility is all to common place and frontline workers, in particular, face tremendously hostile work environments on a daily basis. Customers can be rude, colleagues can be inconsiderate, and the general environment can often feel oppressive. It’s no wonder that morale is so low in many workplaces in today’s world.

Employees who experience rudeness at work are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. They’re also more likely to take their frustration out on customers. In fact, 76% of employees have experienced rudeness at work, a figure that has increased in recent years.

So how can we change this? The answer is simple: be kind. Kindness in the workplace has been linked to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and better teamwork. People who have thoughtful coworkers are more likely to stay with their current job for longer periods of time.

Workplace Incivility is Costing Businesses Billions Each Year

It’s not hard to see why workplace incivility is such a costly issue. Companies have to shell out money for recruitment and training expenses, and they’re also losing out on valuable work time and talent. But more than the economic losses, the toll it takes on team morale, productivity, and job satisfaction cannot be understated. Employees exposed to long-term incivility may decide that they would leave their role due to rude behavior or insults; companies have a hard time retaining top-performing staff when incivility runs rampant in their workplaces.

It’s no wonder workplace incivility has been measured as costing businesses an eye-watering $300 billion each year between recruitment fees, training costs, and lost productivity. To combat this trend, employers must be mindful of employees’ physical and emotional needs and well-being at work if they want to get the most out of individuals within their staff.

Furthermore, clear rules must be written and enforced to uphold positive standards of behavior company-wide. Doing so can help make sure that businesses never leave money on the table due to poor employee morale and inefficient management practices. Finally, any cases that necessitate more extreme measures should be swiftly and justly resolved. Improving civility within the workplace is a prudent move both internally and financially – one that corporations should consider carefully before they find themselves costly casualties of efficiency losses through rudeness.

A kind workplace can help organizational change occur more smoothly, and vice versa.  In order to thrive in today’s business world, the ability to adapt is key.

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It’s Not Just About The Money, Though… It’s Also About The People

It’s simply not enough to think of workplace incivility solely in economic terms. After all, when employees are treated without respect or feel like they’re not worthy of common courtesy at work, it has enormous implications on their quality of life and mental health.

In addition to increased stress levels, employees who experience rudeness, hostile behavior, and lack of support often report feeling “burned out” by their jobs leading to a decrease in overall productivity levels. This can lead to greater staff turnover costs for employers, lower morale among coworkers, and reduced job satisfaction overall – with all these factors ultimately resulting in an enterprise-wide impact that can bleed into other critical areas such as customer service, innovation, and creativity.

Let’s look at nursing as an example. The role is crucial to providing care and comfort to patients in hospitals and clinics around the world. However, turnover is high in the industry because nurses experience high levels of incivility, among other declining job conditions. This often results in burnout, which can have a direct and tangible effect on patients’ quality of care.

The recent pandemic highlighted just how vital nurses, and other healthcare professionals, are to our society. But this also extends to other frontline workers and beyond. We must keep this in mind as we strive to create more respectful, tolerant, and inclusive workplaces that work for everyone. Only then can businesses hope to keep costs down and employees feeling satisfied in their roles.

So besides addressing the money aspect by implementing appropriate workplace protocols and procedures, it’s also important for us to be aware of the human factor so we can ensure everyone is treated with kindness and respect on a daily basis.

Negative Experiences Fuel the Media Cycle

In today’s world, no business wants to be in the public spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Negative experiences can quickly go viral and be shared multiple times across different platforms and audiences, leading to damaging media cycles.

It takes only moments for such negative sentiments to spread in this digital age, making it all the more essential for businesses to pre-emptily monitor their operations on all fronts to ensure maximum customer satisfaction and optimal employee morale. Highlighting the importance of empowering individual workers while ensuring they remain within acceptable boundaries when engaging with clients and other external stakeholders is one example of how organizational policies must adapt to meet the demands of today’s digitally-driven marketplace.

By taking the right precautions, businesses may yet hope to prevent what could potentially be catastrophic consequences should any incident of incivility become known. Whether by virtue of strategic business dealings or simply holding everyone accountable for their actions at work ethic, organizations must strive for encouraging healthy working conditions and respectful behavior as an integral part of their operations.

Diversity and inclusion are more than just decency and virtue markers in an organization. Diversity is a continuous practice of appreciating all identities.

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How To Combat Workplace Incivility

There are a few things that businesses can do to combat workplace incivility and create a more positive work environment for everyone.

Lead By Example

Creating a winning business environment doesn’t happen by accident. It requires active work from the top down. Administrative and managerial staff must set the standard for a civil and respectful workplace in order to encourage this attitude among employees.

Lead by example and ensure that leadership teams are held accountable for their actions. By modeling best practices, such as showing respect for different perspectives, emphasizing team collaboration, listening to all voices before making decisions–and even putting those values into the core values of the company–businesses can cultivate an atmosphere of civility and courtesy that will positively impact employees’ output, motivation, and morale.

Promote a Zero-tolerance Policy

Zero-tolerance policies can create a culture of respect, civility, and equity within an organization. It demonstrates to employees and customers that their verbal or physical behavior is unacceptable and has consequences.

A zero-tolerance policy also helps ensure everyone’s safety within the office. By discouraging discourteous behavior, people can focus on the job at hand without fear of harassment or bullying.

More importantly, it sets a positive tone for how people should treat each other in the office and in life. A zero-tolerance policy speaks louder than words alone: it communicates to all involved that every person in your organization is appreciated and valued. Not only does this contribute to employee morale, but also to a more productive workplace overall.

Foster an Open-door Policy

Creating an atmosphere of open dialogue and mutual respect is essential for any successful business. By fostering an open-door policy, you can ensure that your employees feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns or issues they have. This allows you to quickly address incivility situations before they escalate into bigger problems that can disrupt team morale and productivity.

Additionally, an open-door policy helps to show your employees that you take their concerns seriously and are willing to listen and help if needed. With this kind of support available, employees will be more likely to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner instead of resorting to gossip or other unprofessional behavior.

Use Management Consulting for a Workforce Assessment

Management consulting provides a valuable service for businesses that are looking to assess the needs of their workforce. Through objective research techniques and expert analysis, consultants can accurately analyze a business’s culture and pinpoint areas where employees may be facing unfair treatment or disrespect.

From talking to team members, testing policies, and examining day-to-day operations, consultants can use their professional experience to identify potential sources of workplace incivility and recommend best practices for eliminating it. Through thoughtful interventions such as new training modules, updated HR systems, and improved communication processes, management consulting services can help businesses create an environment that is more respectful and welcoming for all employees.

With its deep understanding of managerial strategies and its commitment to creating more equitable workforces, management consulting offers a wealth of expertise for assessing the needs of any workforce. With the right intervention strategies in place, businesses can take steps toward a productive and harmonious working environment.


Creating a culture of civility and respect in the workplace is essential for any business looking to foster an environment where employees can thrive.

By showing respect for everyone, setting clear boundaries on acceptable behavior, and investing in professional consulting services when needed, companies can create cultures of civility where employees feel appreciated. In turn, this will lead to higher morale and increased productivity—ultimately improving the success of any organization.


Our workplace development processes are a highly effective way for businesses to improve their organizational performance and achieve their goals. We offer expertise and specialized tools that can help organizations navigate the challenges involved in major changes.

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