Positive Employees May Positively Affect the Bottom Line

Nov. 10, 2011
While previous research has indicated that difficult, aggressive or rude employees achieve higher salaries than their more friendly and easy-to-work-with coworkers, a new study from Workplace Options indicates that many employees actually perceive their agreeable coworkers to be more productive and successful in the workplace.

According to a national survey of 637 American employees, 45 percent of respondents believe employees who seem more tolerant, less controlling or more willing to consider coworkers' ideas are more successful at work than their less-agreeable, more aggressive counterparts. Forty-three percent of respondents view these friendly workers as more productive, which indicates that agreeable workers could have a more positive effect on the company’s bottom line.

"Every employer faces challenges when managing different personality types," said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. "It's important for managers to recognize the impact personality has on performance. If lack of agreeableness is affecting productivity or communication, the workplace, and the business, could suffer."

Seventy-one percent of respondents also believed agreeable employees are better coworkers from a social standpoint. Aggressive or less-agreeable employees, meanwhile, may drive away their coworkers and negatively affect teamwork capabilities, Debnam added.

Finally, managers also play a role in these office dynamics. Those who reward aggressive, rude or poor behavior may suffer a hit to their own reputations. Unfortunately, however, some managers reward employees for actions that help the company's bottom line, regardless of how the situation is handled.

"Managers should take a step back and examine their own willingness to reward less agreeable behavior," said Debnam. "While it may not always be intentional, employees will take note of their manager's decisions and it could affect loyalty or performance."

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