In fact, a new report by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) has found 72% of managers in the UK have witnessed employees lying to cover their mistakes, with the same number reporting their colleagues cut corners and delivered substandard work.
A further 68% of the 1,600 managers polled had seen people badmouthing team members behind their backs.
“At a time when organisations are bending over backwards to demonstrate their ethical credentials, we were surprised to see just how endemic some of these bad behaviours are in the workplace,” Charles Elvin, ILM CEO, said.
The 10 most unethical workplace behaviours:
1. Cutting corners – 72%
2. Lying to hide your mistakes – 72%
3. Badmouthing colleagues – 68%
4. Passing the buck (when you don’t get your work done) – 67%
5. Slacking off when no one’s watching – 64%
6. Lying to hide other people’s mistakes – 63%
7. Taking credit for other people’s work – 57%
8. Taking a sickie – 56%
9. Lying about skills and experience – 54%
10.Taking low value items from work – 52%
Not all blame could always be pointed to employees, though – bosses, knowingly or unknowingly, have sometimes been known to encourage such unethical behaviour themselves.
“As more and more organisations seek to embed a culture of ethical awareness and behaviour, it is crucial to set clear guidelines on what is and is not acceptable within the workplace,” Elvin said.
“Employers may be comfortable with people occasionally using the office printer for personal reasons, but far less so with employees telling lies or running down their colleagues behind their backs.
“Leaders need to set that benchmark by defining the types of behaviour that will not be tolerated by putting in place a clear ethical statement and leading by example.”