March 16, 2009

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Dark Side of the Workplace In desperate times, employees resort to desperate measures. And when employees believe their jobs may be in jeopardy, they act in ways unthinkable to most when the economy is healthy. According to a recent survey by Adecco, a whopping 28 percent of respondents would do something dishonest in order to keep their jobs. These behaviors include blaming coworkers for mistakes or blackmailing colleagues. Members of Generation Y are most likely to adopt Lord of the Flies tactics with 41 percent saying they would do something dishonest. Employees probably arrive to work in a dark mood because good news is in short supply. The steady drumbeat of reports about layoffs, failing banks and huge bailouts to financial institutions cannot help to improve productivity either. The broadcast media has all but ceased coverage of any issue other than economic forecasts so escaping grim news is a task in itself. In the same survey 20 percent of currently employed individuals say current economic conditions have a negative affect upon their mental health. This isn’t the first recession this decade, but it is more prolonged and deeper than the downturns that occurred in the 1990s and at the beginning of the current decade. The sense of economic paralysis is moving up the chain as 82 percent of respondents said their employers are not paying more attention to performance even as layoffs reduce payrolls to essential employees. If there is cause for optimism it is the belief that recovery efforts are pending. In the survey, 73 percent of respondents believe the recent stimulus legislation will work.

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The T+D blog covers training, learning, business, and technology topics as well as relevant content from ASTD (the American Society for Training and Development) publications and services.

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