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Dealing with sabotage in the workplace

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Sabotage. Schwarzenegger delivers a rare dark performance in an extremely violent, but ponderous cop thriller, 2014 movie – Sabotage. While sabotage is seldom discussed from a workplace standpoint, it is the hidden scourge of many businesses. Many companies have become targets of resentful and angry employees who are taking out their aggressions on their employers for inequities they have experienced, be it real or perceived.

Some of the common and subtle forms of workplace sabotage are stealing, working slowly, abusing office supplies, and purposely being rude to customers. These actions have crippling implications. In an article “Employee Sabotage Don’t Be a Target!” Jennifer Koch explains that the impact on the business can be devastating. Koch said that the best defenses for employee sabotage are being aware of your risk potential and being prepared with proactive human resources practices.

According to Koch, sabotage is committed most often by employees who are bored, feel overworked, have unresolved grievances, are attempting to gain unfair competitive advantage, or are simply disgruntled. Acts of sabotage usually stem from people who have deep personal beefs about workplace treatment, and want their employer to feel their pain.

Are you a target of workplace sabotage? Efficient human resource management is a key to reducing the risk of employee sabotage. Start with hiring the right people for the job. Ensure that promotions are handled fairly. Manage grievances in a fair and thorough manner. Cultivate a culture where employees are encouraged to share their feelings openly. Develop a programme where employees are rewarded regularly for their outstanding work.

When faced with a potential saboteur, Robert Giacalone, Ph.D in an article “Employee sabotage, comes in many sizes and shapes” said managers who recognize and monitor suspected sabotage help apprehend the perpetrator and reduce future occurrences. He said when management is the first line of defense, sabotage prevention is more effective. Giacalone also suggests that managers are trained to monitor sabotage by collecting data that provides a picture of events preceding, during and following suspected sabotage.

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