Productive behavior - how employees inhibit the company's development

Productive behavior - how employees inhibit the company's development
  1. Types
  2. Reasons
  3. Prevention methods

We spend more and more time at work, we complain about being overloaded with duties and working on weekends and evenings. On the other hand, more and more hours devoted to professional responsibilities do not always translate into higher productivity and higher profits. What is the reason for this discrepancy? It is most likely from mistakes in working time management and sometimes also from employees’ deliberate actions to their disadvantage.


Counterproductive behaviors are actions of employees that harm the enterprise and violate the standards in force in it. They usually manifest themselves as a decline in productivity and a decline in the company's income. These actions must be taken consciously. Thus, productive behavior is not unintentional mistakes of the employee or failures resulting from the lack of necessary qualifications. The most common counterproductive behaviors include:

- avoiding duties,

- lack of reliability in the performance of duties and orders,

- unjustified prolongation of working time on tasks,

- being late,

- extending breaks,

- leaving ahead of time

- abuse of dismissals,

- taking out property,

- destruction of property,

- actions to the detriment of colleagues,

- withdrawal from the social life of the organization.

Some of these behaviors directly expose the company to losses by destroying property, collecting undue remuneration, or extorting money from insurance. Some of them negatively affect the atmosphere in the organization and relations between employees. The others bring financial losses due to wasting working time. Such behaviors include procrastination in starting tasks and spending time on substitute activities that prevent us from fulfilling our duties. Occasionally, employees intentionally set aside a large amount of time to complete relatively easy tasks. In this way, they want to protect themselves from assigning additional responsibilities and using the remaining time to rest. The frequent counterproductive behaviors include the handling of matters unrelated to professional duties during working hours. Employees usually take advantage of situations in which such behavior may go unnoticed by employers. They slightly extend their business trips to fulfill several family duties or look for an excuse to leave the office.

The Internet is also used very often for private purposes. Especially in companies without browser monitoring, a person using the Internet for private purposes may seem absorbed in work. Employees often open several windows in their browsers at the same time. Usually, under the pages closely related to work goals, there are windows for private email, instant messaging, or online bank accounts. During working hours, social networks and websites that provide access to free games are also crowded.


Some employees act to the detriment of the workplace, regardless of the conditions in which they work. Their behavior is influenced by personality conditions and the norms taken from the family home. These are attitudes that are difficult to change.

Some people are easy to lie, and therefore cheat employers in various ways. Some employees adopt an attitude according to which they deserve something in their life, and therefore appropriate various goods. They are convinced that since they work in a given place, they can take, for example, printer paper or coffee from the company. They assume that in return for their daily toil, they deserve additional compensation. So they perceive it with a feeling of full justification. It starts with taking out paper or pens; then there are minor frauds on accounts, private expenses, or travel with company money.

Prevention methods

The most important task of managers is to implement a strategy that will allow employees to identify with their own company. Professionals use the term organizational justice, which is the total insights of employees about how decisions are made within the organization, these decisions' results, how employees are treated, how rewards and privileges are distributed influence organizational justice. It is important to timely pay salaries that correspond to the position held and the amount of work performed. This kind of justice involves the distribution of goods. Equally important are the rules for issuing reprimands and penalties that are justified and appropriate to the offenses. The lack of transparency in these procedures makes employees feel powerless. Employees who do not influence the punishments and rewards they encounter lose their motivation to perform their duties properly. The employers' decisions seem unrelated to their behavior.

Another aspect of organizational management is procedural fairness, understood as the employees' influence on decision-making. The sense of agency increases the motivation of employees. Employees co-manage the company and therefore identify with it more strongly. And people do not tend to harm groups and organizations with which they feel a strong connection. Correct relations between employees, clear dispute resolution methods, and division of competencies are also crucial for employee involvement. Employees who perform their duties under such conditions feel fairly treated, and the company becomes a personal asset for them. The organization evokes good associations and a sense of pride and belonging. In most cases, this situation effectively minimizes the occurrence of counterproductive behaviors.

Developing transparent company procedures that make employees feel respected is a primary way to prevent this behavior. Also, there are methods of supervising employees in strictly defined areas. The most common techniques for controlling employees using the Internet for private purposes are blocking some websites and monitoring web activities. Some employers decide on the system of stamping entry and exit cards to control delays and extending breaks. Monitoring of the workplace allows you to control how the equipment is used and prevents possible thefts. The most effective method of combating staff laziness is to bill employees based on completed tasks and projects and not based on working time. The most radical method is the commission system, in which the remuneration depends on the number of completed tasks. Some companies calculate rates hourly; however, they introduce monitoring of duties performed during work. Each employee must enter a list of tasks completed during work into the system.

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