Workers who witness rule-breaking are twice as likely to quit
- During the past two years, almost 30% of employees witnessed at least one act of misconduct at work, according to a new Gartner survey — and workers are twice as likely to quit their jobs after observing compliance violations.
- Gartner said that with employee turnover costing large organizations millions of dollars, the loss of particularly conscientious workers can deflate productivity and harm culture and morale. Of the employees who observed a compliance violation, 59% said they were actively looking for another job, compared with 29% who didn't witness misconduct.
- Gartner said that the departure of workers, especially conscientious ones, should be a warning that compliance violations might be the underlying problem.
The Gartner survey highlights the tie between culture and retention. Brian Lee, Gartner's compliance practice leader, said that if attrition isn't HR and other compliance executives' concern, it should be.
"Employee misconduct and the failure of compliance to address it plays a considerable role in motivating employees to leave their current organization," Lee said. Employees upset by misconduct are the workers employers can't afford to lose, especially in a tight labor market.
Training employees and managers to comply with rules and policies and following up with enforcement are critical, but not always the priorities they should be for employers. For example, the #MeToo movement was expected to have a profound effect on the workplace. Although one study found that the demand for training rose after the movement gained traction, another poll involving employees found that employers' policies and practices changed very little.
And sometimes, only a culture overhaul can change a workplace from one in which misconduct is allowed to persist to one with the highest ethical standards.