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What to do when your colleagues behave like children

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From employees asking their mothers to call in sick or even resign on their behalf, to getting them to deliver home lunch to the office, local bosses certainly have a lot to say about the childish behaviour of their young staff, most of who grew up with over-protective parents.

The problem of immature workers is not in Hong Kong though, as a US-based study by Career Builder highlighted 3 in 4 employees had witnessed childish acts among colleagues in the workplace.

The study took views from more than 3000 employees and 200 hiring and HR managers, to identify behaviours which were more suitable for primary school classroom rather than the office.

These included whining (55%), pouting when things did not go his or her way (46%), playing pranks on colleagues (36%), and making faces behind someone’s back (35%).

ALSO READ: The most annoying behaviours on conference calls

An earlier study by CareerBuilder found that up to 62% of employers are unlikely to promote employees who have a negative attitude, so the whiners and pouters may consider cleaning up their act to save their careers.

The childish behaviours witnessed in this case were not only among young workers, but also a company owner who was seen throwing tantrums, yelling and slamming doors when he didn’t get his way.

Respondents also saw managers hiding to get away from duties and work responsibility, eating food that belonged to colleagues, and going to lunch and never coming back.

Rosemary Haefner, CHRO of CareerBuilder said some of the childish behaviour is harmless and enables employees to relax a little and promote a sense of camaraderie in the office.  

“But there’s a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behaviour. Actions like spreading rumors, ‘tattling,’ and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment,” she said.  

The top 10 childish behaviours at the workplace were:

  1. Whine: 55%
  2. Pout over something that didn’t go his/her way: 46 %
  3. Tattle on another co-worker: 44 %
  4. Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 %
  5. Make a face behind someone’s back: 35 %
  6. Form a clique: 32 %
  7. Start a rumour about a co-worker: 30 %
  8. Storm out of the room: 29 %
  9. Throw a tantrum: 27 %
  10. Refuse to share resources with others: 23 %

ALSO READ: 10 employees you don’t want working for you

Image: Shutterstock

HR Masterclass from Human Resources magazine: High-level HR strategy training workshops
led by the world's most respected HR thought leaders & strategists.
Review the 2019 programme here »

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