Civility Lost? Uber Driver Faces Workplace Violence

Civility Lost? Uber Driver Faces Workplace Violence

By Jennifer Gladstone

bullies in the workplaceWe write about Uber quite a bit on this blog… especially when one of their drivers is accused of a crime. But the newly released video of a passenger hauling off and beating a driver senseless is nothing short of shocking. If you missed the video of the attack you can see it here (Warning: NSFW language):

It turns out the attacker is… or was… an executive for Taco Bell’s parent company. Taco Bell released a statement that says, “Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us. We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help.”

You have to wonder if this man’s unacceptable behavior ever surfaced in his business life. In the following guest blog, our partner, Catherine Mattice of Civility Partners tells us three key areas businesses need to focus on to help maintain civility in the workplace.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 25% of businesses have workplace bullying, and CareerBuilder found that 35% of workers report that they are bullied at work.

Incivility, bullying, harassment and discrimination affect the bottom line because these behaviors increase anxiety, depression, absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover; and decrease motivation, quality of work, output, job satisfaction, and ability to meet goals. Communication ceases, problems can’t be solved, people can’t learn, gossip takes over, customer service suffers, and stress prevents effective decision making.

Further, anyone witnessing the aggressive behaviors, even if they don’t necessarily feel victimized by it, loses loyalty to managers and the organization, and thus their work suffers too.

Organizational success depends on a climate of fairness and compassion, and organizational culture dictates behavior. The initiatives you can implement in your own organization to create a positive organizational culture are nearly unlimited; you just have to get creative.

No matter what action items you decide to implement, your efforts must focus on three areas: Policy, culture and leadership. Because I don’t have unlimited space in this blog post, I offer the following ideas in each area: 

  • Policy: No doubt you have all of the required harassment and discrimination policies in your employee handbook – you’ve provided your employees a list of what they should not do. But have you provided a list of what they should do instead? When you remove behaviors, you have to replace them. If you tell employees not to do something, you have to offer alternatives. Therefore, implement a healthy workplace corporate policy that provides information about what respectful and civil behavior looks like in your organization. This policy will also allow you to address behavior that is uncivil enough to cause a breakdown in communication and damage work product and customer service.
  • Culture: In order to gain buy-in for your new policy, seek help from your employees. During your next staff meeting, break your attendees into groups and ask them to tell you what behaviors they would like to see from their co-workers and managers. As each group provides their answers, make a list on the whiteboard so they can see that they all agree. (Interestingly, I’ve done this exercise in over 50 organizations of all industries and sizes, and the list is always roughly the same 15 items.) Include the list in the healthy workplace policy, use it to create values statements and action items, and intertwine the list with performance management programs. Also provide training on those behaviors, as well as in areas that highlight positive behavior, including conflict resolution, negotiation, interpersonal communication, assertiveness, forgiveness, gratitude, empathy, stress management, leadership, and optimism.
  • Leadership: Leadership must be transparent about their support for a civil work environment in order for it to come to fruition. In addition, leaders should be trained on positive leadership skills, coaching uncivil employees, and publicly rewarding those who engage in positive workplace behaviors. They should be trained in building upon employee strengths, rather than finding and correcting their weaknesses.

The benefits of a healthy, safe, positive and supportive working environment are endless. Positive workplace cultures motivate and inspire, decrease turnover, improve internal communication, increase customer satisfaction and work quality, reduce stress, improve employee health, increase learning and retention, ignite better decision making, and promote excitement among employees to achieve greatness.


About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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