✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️
✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️

Register now

Live Webinar: Secrets to Building a Successful B2B2C Growth Flywheel
Save your spot now

The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Visit Hr Glossaries

Work Behavior

What Is work behavior?  

Work behavior refers to the way employees conduct themselves and perform their duties within the workplace. It encompasses both the actions employees take and the attitudes they display while on the job.

Here's a breakdown of work behavior:

  • Actions: This includes how employees fulfill their job responsibilities, their work ethic, time management skills, collaboration with colleagues, and following company policies.
  • Attitudes: This reflects an employee's general outlook towards their work, their willingness to go the extra mile, their level of engagement, and their overall disposition in the workplace.  
Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

What are the four key work behaviors?

There are four key work behaviors that human resource professionals and managers typically focus on:

  • Job performance: This refers to how effectively an employee fulfills the core responsibilities of their job. It's measured by factors like meeting deadlines, achieving goals, and maintaining quality standards.
  • Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs): These are voluntary actions that go beyond the basic job requirements but contribute positively to the organization. Examples include helping colleagues, participating in committees, or taking initiative to improve processes.
  • Absenteeism: This refers to an employee's unscheduled or unplanned absences from work. Excessive absenteeism can disrupt workflows and decrease productivity.
  • Turnover: This refers to the rate at which employees leave an organization. High turnover can be costly and disrupt operations.

What are positive work behaviors?

Here are some examples of positive work behaviors that employers value:

  • Reliability and dependability: Consistently showing up on time, meeting deadlines, and being someone your colleagues can count on.
  • Strong work ethic: Demonstrating a commitment to quality work, a willingness to put in the effort, and taking pride in one's contributions.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Working effectively with colleagues, communicating openly, and being supportive of others.
  • Positive attitude: Maintaining a professional and optimistic demeanor, being adaptable, and fostering a positive work environment.
  • Initiative and proactiveness: Taking ownership of tasks, identifying problems and suggesting solutions, and going above and beyond expectations.
  • Communication skills: Communicating clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing, and actively listening to others.
  • Problem-solving skills: The ability to identify and analyze problems, develop solutions, and think creatively.

What are negative work behaviors?

These are actions and attitudes that go against workplace expectations and norms. They can be detrimental to individual and team performance, creating a stressful and unproductive work environment.

Here are some common examples:

  • Poor performance: Not meeting deadlines, consistently producing low-quality work, or lacking the skills necessary for the job.
  • Unprofessional conduct: Disrespect towards colleagues or superiors, gossiping, negativity, or creating a hostile work environment.
  • Absenteeism and tardiness: Frequent unplanned absences, arriving late at work, or leaving early without proper authorization.
  • Lack of communication: Not communicating clearly, withholding information, or failing to respond to messages in a timely manner.
  • Lack of teamwork: Not cooperating with colleagues, being unwilling to help others, or creating conflict within the team.
  • Stealing or fraud: Taking company property or resources for personal use, or falsifying information.

What are the effects of toxic work behavior?

Negative work behaviors, especially when left unchecked, can have a significant impact on individuals and the organization:

  • Decreased productivity: A toxic work environment can lead to decreased motivation, morale, and ultimately, productivity.
  • Increased absenteeism and turnover: Employees may try to escape a negative work environment by calling in sick more often or seeking employment elsewhere. This creates a cycle of disruption and costs for the company.
  • Employee health issues: Chronic stress caused by a toxic work environment can lead to physical and mental health problems for employees.
  • Damaged reputation: A company with a reputation for negative work culture can struggle to attract and retain top talent.

How can someone improve my work behavior?

If you're looking to improve your work behavior, here are some steps you can take:

  • Self-awareness: Reflect on your behavior and its impact on others. Identify areas for improvement.
  • Communication: Actively listen to feedback from colleagues and supervisors. Openly discuss areas where you can improve.
  • Professional development: Seek opportunities to learn new skills and improve your knowledge base. This can enhance your performance and value to the company.
  • Positive attitude: Focus on maintaining a positive and professional demeanor. Be willing to help others and contribute to a more collaborative work environment.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How can employers address negative work behavior?

Employers have a responsibility to address negative work behavior to maintain a productive and healthy work environment. Here are some approaches:

  • Documentation: Document specific instances of negative behavior. This is crucial if progressive discipline is necessary.
  • Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs): If a performance issue exists, a PIP can outline specific goals and expectations for improvement.
  • Counseling: Informal or formal counseling sessions can address behavioral issues and provide guidance for improvement.
  • Disciplinary action: In severe cases, disciplinary action can be taken, ranging from verbal warnings to suspension or termination.

Quick Links

Employee Engagement solutions

Recognised by market experts