How To Reduce Counterproductive Work Behavior (Identify And Stop Easily)

It is easier for people to make racist hate speech or bullying juniors at the workplace. If your industry has a high resignation rate, then staff involving in counterproductive behaviors could be true.

A responsible senior mentoring and a productive workplace can decimate CWB by 80%.

In a manufacturing factory, verbal abuse is very common since the production in charge may fire the workers at any time based on the performance. NOWADAYS, big IT industries have a strict anti-CWB squad that will monitor discomfort among co-workers both by cyber and physical allegations.

What Is Counterproductive Work Behavior or CWB?

An employee’s behavior that could sabotage the workplace in terms of profit, rules, cleanliness, productivity, theft, customer abuse, and sexual harassment is known as counterproductive work behavior(CWB).

How to reduce counterproductive work behavior - types of CWB
Types Of CWB

It is also the measure of the intentional or unintentional activity that could hack the growth of others, the company, and the self.

CWB could be a huge turnoff for the individual and the industry. There are thousands of stories of organizations brought down by a lapse in ethical and moral integrity. It includes-

  1. Sabotaging
  2. Abuses like sexual, verbal.
  3. Theft of data and things.
  4. Intentional Withdrawals.
  5. Irresponsible production.

The problem with these types of behaviors is that people actually don’t realize what is bad and what is good! The most common reply for these behaviors is — “doesn’t everyone do that?”.

When I joined my industry as a fresher, within 2 or 3 months, I became a CRM expert. Once a senior asked me how to perform certain tasks since he was new to this system. During that time, my manager came there and insulted us, stating, “He is just a fresher. He itself does not know what a CRM is and why you are discussing it with him.”

I understood that this is a counterproductive work behavior of my manager and I could not start an argument. I was too concerned about my career and salary. An argument could lead to resignation.

This kind of behavior from our leaders could cause a dip in productivity metrics, reduced interest at work, improper communication, and anger.

It is necessary to check for these signs among the new employees and seniors. You should make a regular assessment mandatory for all.

“You can measure the level of success by the obstacles you have tackled to reach those goals.”

Booker T Washington

Examples Of Counterproductive Behaviors

  1. As an employer, you have asked your employees to complete the project within a specific deadline. For every project, they keep on postponing the deadline and failed to give the exact date. This means the members of the team or someone in the team follow production deviance or irresponsible production type CWB.
  2. The employee is always late for appointments.
  3. If he doesn’t like someone at work, he simply snubs on them.
  4. Does not follow the company’s guidelines and policies.
  5. Taking the properties that belong to the company.
  6. Taking leave often because of lack of interest.
  7. Does not take responsibility for the task scheduled by the employer.
  8. Being impolite to coworkers.
  9. Recurring distractions like gossip, sexual interactions at the workplace.
  10. Stealing other’s belongings.

When compared to 2019, 2020 and 2021 experienced higher resignation rates of the excellent employees, with the reason stating, “poor treatment and work culture”.

This is because people NOWADAYS have money and they feel the need for respect and appreciative culture.

If they can’t find those in the industry they joined, it leads to low production efficiency and high counterproductive work behaviors.

How To Reduce Counterproductive Work Behavior?

There are high chances for an employee to indulge in CWB. But, you can filter out the best candidates or you can self-improve the behaviors with these 7 practical tips.

  1. Negative Leadership — The positive experiences in an industry should outnumber the negative experiences that an employee goes through. Leaders are the key driving force behind this. A good authoritative leadership (in-depth guide) quality for a team leader can tackle all the situations among workers.
  2. Interpersonal intelligence — To be able to understand how a person work, what are the things that motivate them to work here.
  3. Intrapersonal intelligence — Once must understand his strengths and weakness. The employee should build a capacity to work on one’s self regularly. If he hasn’t planned a work routine, then work strategies should be taught first.
  4. HRs should conduct a test for Emotional Quotient (EQ), Intelligence Quotient, and the untold Character Quotient (CQ). I assume you are familiar with EQ and IQ, but CQ is the area where you could realize one’s life goals, ultimate success according to them, their productive mindset, and relationship ideologies.
  5. Make employees to follow a 5-minute routine for self-development. Add that schedule daily at the exact time so that they are subconsciously creating a system. Much better way is to add that time to the to-do list productivity tool that your company use and set reminders.
  6. Consult help from third parties that provide psychological guidelines though various strategies. Eg, has various assessments with built-in lie-detector, personal traits measuring methods for selection process though online.
  7. Track the time for every employee to understand their productivity metrics. Use a time tracker app.

This 5-minute rule can be a course session, a workout, or a team activity that could lighten the mood.

A group task is a key to building trust and commitment towards the workplace.

Team activities help to uplift one another by complimenting, comforting, and coaching. It makes them need one another a few circumstances so that when they come back to work, employees won’t hesitate to get help.

A trust is formed by clarifying conflicts, being open while dealing with misunderstandings.

What Are Not Counterproductive Workplace Behaviors?

  1. Resting 5 minutes after spending 25-30 minutes in front of the desktop.
  2. Factory workers sitting for 15 minutes tea break.
  3. Playing these sports (that requires less time) after a heated meeting.
  4. Taking leave for medical emergencies.
  5. Not able to take zoom calls because of surrounding noises.
  6. Browsing information on google related to the job.


Improving your workplace by reducing counterproductive work behaviors could reduce the direct cost because of vacancies, recruitment costs, training costs, lost productivity flow costs.

Character is the foundation for success in an organization that produces quality products and services.

Improving your character and your employee’s character can lead to enhanced productivity and authentic success score in both personal and professional life.


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