Every company deals with office politics. There really isn’t a way around it when you have numerous people working together day in and day out. It can become a thorn in your side and one study has shown that it’s ruining employee happiness.
If you aren’t able to enjoy the ability to work from home, you probably find yourself in a cubicle on a daily basis (or an office, if you’re lucky.) This means that, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re smack dab in the middle of ongoing office politics. Almost everyone wants to be noticed at work, receive praise and promotions, and for some people, that means throwing your coworkers under the bus to get ahead. What’s surprising is how big of an impact this has on employees. An article was published detailing this issue along with some findings that may raise a few eyebrows.
A study was completed, called “Tough at the Top? New rules of resilience for women’s leadership success.” They found that 90% of employees, both female and male, agree that resilience is necessary in order to be successful. Only 6% of employees said that their company provided them with ways to cope with pressure in the workplace. Authors of the report, Sarah Bond of For Business Sake Consulting, and Gillian Shapiro, from Shaprio Consulting, had some advice for employers: Start focusing on building networking skills and relationships between coworkers.
They also stated:
“Our starting hypothesis was that you needed to be resilient to deal with the volume and pace of work in the pipeline to the top. This is true, but what really surprised us is that it’s relationships at work that, in the end, get people down.”
Their findings proved that, when a crisis happens at work, most people tend to lean on their network of political, personal, and professional relationships. Also, they found that women (71%) are more eager to improve their resilience than men (64%) and that most women (76%) blame office politics for the reason they feel so drained. Only 43% of women cited outside influences, non-work responsibilities, as the biggest test of resilience.
So what does this mean for productivity? Well, think of it this way. How can you focus on your career, your own duties at work, when all of this is going on in the background? We have already found out that just being in an office environment hurts productivity. Many organizations are aware of how important employee satisfaction is and are making pretty big strides in improving that. But somehow, office politics is something that rarely gets addressed. It’s as if it’s just to be expected, something we all simply have to deal with.
Alison Robb, the group director of customer, people, commercial and communication over at Nationwide had this to say on the topic:
“This research gets to the core of how important resilience is and how it can be encouraged and nurtured in women and men in different ways. A better understanding of what drives resilience enables us as employers to continue to develop environments in which male and female employees are given equal opportunities to thrive.”
Drama at work is a nightmare for efficiency. And even if you don’t mean to, most people find themselves being dragged into it by coworkers or even upper management. Companies need to start engaging this problem. You shouldn’t have to be The Incredible Hulk just to climb the career ladder. Skills and experience, as well as the drive to learn and grow, should be nurtured and praised. It shouldn’t be about how much of a beating you can take getting to the top.
Are you looking for more ways to increase employee retention and happiness? Reach out to one of our business process improvement consultants today for more information!