Civility. It seems like such a simple thing, and while we all try to be on our best behavior there is always room for improvement. Most people finds themselves having one or two moments of uncivility. It may have been unintentional such as being late for a meeting or being a willing participant in office gossip. Conversely, it may have been intentional such as being derogatory towards an individual. The fact is it happens to all of us at one time or another. That is why now more than ever it is extremely important to establish, encourage, and maintain civility in the work place. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways.
For example, discussing politics or religion in the work place, especially in today’s climate, can be problematic. Discussing sensitive topics within the work environment can lead to arguments, disagreements and unnecessary tension, particularly when it involves personal values. If it is appropriate to engage in these types of conversations in the workplace please remember to be respectful. Your Partner In HR’s Amy Shannon, suggests employers consider developing a code of civil behavior within your organization. She states, “It is an incredibly helpful tool that ensures everyone is aware of what is expected of them.”
There are other ways to maintain civility at work:
- Always be polite. Please and thank you should be commonplace.
- Refrain from gossiping. Gossiping may seem like an entertaining pastime but can be hurtful. It can also damage work relationships.
- Choose to engage in positive conversation. Positive conversations help promote a positive work environment.
- Respect the property of others. Don’t borrow or take things without permission. If you do borrow something make sure to return it within a reasonable amount of time.
- Be on time, even better be early. It shows a lack of respect for others time when you are late.
- Take the time to listen. Acknowledge that you are in engaged by maintaining eye contact and ask clarifying questions. Focus your attention on the person.
- Be aware of how others perceive you. How emotionally intelligent are you? Make sure you take the time to take a self-inventory. Make changes where necessary.
Social media has come to be a significant part of everyday life. It is important to understand while it is a mainstay, there are best practices to follow. First, be mindful of the information you post pertaining to work which is not meant for public dissemination. This means not posting anything regarding to work that is confidential or proprietary. Second, always be mindful in regards to posts about co-workers or supervisors. Jennifer Corso, employment attorney and legal advisor to YPHR, encourages employers to have a social media policy, but to have it legally reviewed. “Over the last several years, the National Labor Relations Board has issued several decisions regarding employer’s social media policies. What may seem to be common sense to a business may actually be in violation of the NLRB rulings. Even private sector employers have limits on restricting employee speech.”
Inherently, private thoughts shared on social media are no longer private. There are not any preventive measures to ensure these thoughts are shared with others. In fact these thoughts can be shared or imaged easily with the click of a button. Imagine if you read on Facebook negative comments a co-worker posted about you. Even worse imagine it being shared over and over with people you know or strangers. You wouldn’t feel very good. Always consider the audience before anything work related is posted. Refrain from posting anything on social media during work hours unless it is part of your job requirement. Employers are paying you to be productive for the good of the company. They are not compensating you to surf your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Limit those activities to do on your personal time. Remember to consult your employee handbook and understand your employers’ policies and guidelines.
There are many ways to maintain civility in the workplace. Working together for the good of everyone is a great place to start. For more information regarding social media or establishing a code of of civil behavior please contact YPHR. Also, we can help update or re-write your current handbook, and our legal advisor, Jennifer Corso, would be happy to review it with you to be sure you are compliant with the most recent legal updates.
Stay tuned for future blog topics:
- Employee Behavior: Part II
- Employee Behavior: Part III
- Team Leadership
- Informal Leadership
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