Two employees arguing inside an office with their colleagues looking at them.

How to Handle Inappropriate Behavior in the Workplace

Spread the love
  • Around 40 percent of employees consider leaving work due to poor corporate culture, which affects the industry.
  • Leaders must educate their teams on acceptable and unacceptable behavior, hold everyone accountable, and take all complaints seriously.
  • Employees who report inappropriate behavior must not face retaliatory action.
  • Resilience training, support, and encouraging an open environment where employees can share complaints without retribution ensure a culture of respect. 
  • Leaders must take action to show commitment to their team’s well-being and prevent inappropriate behavior.

A staggering 40 percent of employees contemplated departing from their employers in 2021. This increase in resignations only grew as the year progressed – and corporate culture was far more likely to be linked with industry-adjusted attrition than how employees viewed their compensation.

Toxic company cultures have proven to make workers 10.4 times more apt to quit than other businesses within its sector; this is significantly higher than any effects tied directly to paychecks.

As a leader, you are responsible for creating a positive work environment and addressing inappropriate behavior quickly and effectively. This blog post will discuss how to identify and handle inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Manager discussing company policies with employees at a conference room.

Educate Your Team

One of the best ways to prevent inappropriate behavior in the workplace is by educating your team on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. During onboarding, new employees should be trained on your company’s code of conduct and policies.

Information About Inappropriate Behavior

This should include information on what constitutes inappropriate behavior and how to report any incidents. Reiterating this information through regular training and communication can help reinforce your expectations and set the tone for a respectful workplace.

Hold Accountable

You should also ensure that everyone in your organization, from senior leadership to entry-level employees, is accountable for their behavior. Establishing clear standards of conduct and consequences will ensure that inappropriate behavior isn’t tolerated, no matter who it comes from. Additionally, provide an environment where people feel safe coming forward with concerns and complaints.

Take All Complaints Seriously

If an employee reports inappropriate behavior to you, it’s crucial to take the complaint seriously and investigate it thoroughly. As a leader, you may have a relationship with the accused person. But you must remain objective and impartial when handling the complaint. If you don’t feel equipped to handle the situation, consider bringing in an outside HR consultant or legal professional.

Document the Process

Be sure to document the entire process, including your conversations with affected employees and any steps taken to resolve the complaint. It’s crucial that all parties involved feel like they are being heard and their concerns are being addressed.

Avoid Retaliatory Action

Additionally, ensure that you don’t take any retaliatory action against an employee who has reported the issue. This could include anything from demotions and pay cuts to more subtle forms of discrimination.

Female HR employee checking the records of a male office worker at work.

Address the Behavior Quickly and Directly

Once you’ve investigated the behavior, addressing it quickly and directly is essential. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to take disciplinary action, such as terminating an employee.

Conversation with Employee

However, sometimes a conversation with the offending employee can stop the behavior. Your team must know that you take inappropriate behavior seriously and are committed to promptly addressing it.

Communicate Corrective Action

Be sure to communicate any corrective action clearly and calmly. Explain why the behavior was unacceptable and outline what’s expected from them in the future. If necessary, create a plan for monitoring their progress and provide resources they can turn to if they need help. You can also consider getting a civil no-contact order. The order can protect the victim from further harassment or violence.

Follow Up

Following up with the employee after you’ve addressed their behavior is essential. Ask for a commitment to improving their behavior and let them know you will monitor it closely. Hold regular meetings and check-ins to ensure they are making progress. Above all, make sure they understand that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated in your workplace.

Provide Support for Employees

Experiencing inappropriate behavior can be traumatic for employees, so supporting affected team members is critical. Encourage employees to speak with HR or a mental health professional if they need support.

Resilience Training

Additionally, you may want to consider providing training on resilience or emotional well-being to help your team cope with difficult situations. Finally, it is vital to reinforce supportive behavior and recognize those who share the values of respectful communication and collaboration.

Open Environment

Providing an open environment where employees can express concerns about inappropriate behaviors without fear of retribution will help create a culture of respect and trust. Encourage employees to come forward with information or complaints through anonymous surveys, online forms, or other methods.

As a business leader, protecting your team from inappropriate workplace behavior is essential to your organization’s success. Following the tips in the article can create a positive and safe workplace for all employees. Take action today to demonstrate your commitment to your team’s well-being and prevent inappropriate behavior in your workplace.

Scroll to Top