Wealth Shift: The Decline of Ethics in America
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#4 - Taboo Behavior

Given all the socializing that goes on during office hours, is it any wonder that romance fills the air? According to a SnagAJob.com survey of 800 office workers, 72% of men and 60% of women admit to being infatuated with a co-worker. In a recent Harris Poll, 53% of women admit to having an office “spouse” in whom they confide their most intimate secrets (42% of men said the same). In the 2007 Valentine’s Day Office Romance Survey conducted by Vault.com, 17% of workers said they had been caught “trysting” at the office, up from just 2% in 2006. In the same survey, 46% of office workers acknowledged dating a co-worker and 22% said their office romance had lead to marriage. (Interestingly, the rates are even higher in larger companies where the romance pond contains more fish.)

According to Careerbuilder.com, other taboo behaviors at work besides romance (along with their rates of frequency) are:

1) Falling asleep at work (45 percent)

2) Spreading a rumor about a co-worker (22 percent)

3) Consuming alcoholic beverages while on the job (21 percent)

4) Snooping after hours (18 percent)

5) Lying about an academic background (4 percent)

6) Taking credit for someone else’s work (2 percent)

Needless to say, given all the statistics and examples cited above, we are getting about a D on our scorecard for managing the Wealth Shifting behaviors of our employees. And Wealth Shift is so pervasive that we can’t even begin to calculate the overall cost to the economy in terms of dollars (other than to speculate that it must cost companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year). To actually quantify workplace Wealth Shift we would have to calculate the total impact cost of all the various categories we have discussed above, add to that the cost of turnover due to firing people for Wealth Shifting (estimated by the Harvard Business review to be approximately 150% of each employee’s annual salary) and then factor in the expenses associated with all the litigation arising from harassing Wealth Shift behavior.

Look, we may not be able to put an exact dollar-figure on it, but it doesn’t take a team of Wealth Shifticians to know we have a problem.

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