The Most Common Workplace Lie and Reasons Employees Fib at Work

Reasons Behind Fibbing in the Workplace

A recent survey has found that fibbing in the workplace is much more prevalent. Some 83% of people working in HR say they lie in the workplace according to Viking. This suggests HR staff are more likely to lie at work, outstripping other professionals.

Reasons Behind Fibbing in the Workplace

HR professionals would tell white lies to avoid socializing (25%) with fellow colleagues to avoid awkward conversations. Additionally, they would make up false excuses for not answering phone calls (22.5%).

IT and Telecoms workers (76%) come in second among those who lie in the workplace followed closely by those working in Arts and Culture coming third with 72%.

The survey of UK based employees cites that overall, 69% of workers have lied at work before. The most common fib told was lying about the reasons for taking time off (26%). Some have attributed to using the time off for job interviews that they did not want their employers to know about. Others have lied to avoid disclosing about sensitive appointments they did not wish to make known.

Though lying is frowned upon, some come with good intentions. Across the board lying to make a colleague to feel better (58%) is the most common lie in the workplace. Others include lying about liking the employer (58%); liking the company (54%); lying to a client (30%); or lying on their CVs (29%).

Who Fibs the Most

Younger generations seem to lie relative to others. Over three quarters (76%) of Millennials (25-35 year olds) have lied at work. While only 56% of over-55s, or Baby Boomers have said they previously told a lie in the workplace. Surprisingly enough 38% of HR staff say they think lying on a CV is acceptable and 30% of them admit to lying on their own applications.

In order to snag jobs in a competitive market lying has become a recourse. Gen Zs (30%) and Millennials (33%) have embellished their CVs, compared to just 18% of Baby Boomers.

Furthermore, asked whether they’d take the blame for a manager’s mistake, the generational gap persists. With 32% of Gen Z and 28% of Millennials saying that they would accept fault, compared to just 11% of Baby Boomers.

Here too HR professionals have some surprises in store for us with 48% of them saying it’s acceptable to take the blame for a manager’s mistake

“As flag bearers of honesty and morality in the workplace, we certainly didn’t expect to see HR professionals leading the way when it comes to lying at work”, said Bob Huibers, Viking’s Marketing Executive, in the emailed release.

Huibers noted against the background of increased focus on mental health and wellbeing HR staff should not compound the problem by being complacent. He advises the tradition of toeing the line needs to change so that employees can feel supported and protected by their HR department.

Huibers puts forwards three remedies to instill in the work place to drive our deceit: management to lead by example; call out liars; and encourage honesty.

The Value of Having an Honest and Transparent Workplace

Having an honest and transparent workplace helps provide trust, provide a higher level of ethics and more employee engagement in the workplace. These help in bringing about better workplace engagement. Businesses with highly levels of employee engagement experience several positive outcomes. This includes a motivated and productive staff.

Health wise an engaged workforce will not struggle with depression and anxiety that come with low engagement. This in turn will lower turnover for the organization. This means less absenteeism and less sick days taken.

Engaged staff will also work towards meeting customer satisfactions by being more assertive in their tasks and work towards fulfilling the strategic goals of the business.

Ultimately it will translate to higher levels of productivity and profitability. Low employee engagement on the other hand can spell disaster for your business. Staff might be less motivated to do their job which in return affects productivity as well as drive away clients.

Creating an Honest Business Culture

Irrespective the size of your business or the line of business you are in honesty in your work culture should be a key pillar. The culture of your business is all about the values and beliefs that drive everything you do. Starting from what products or services you offer to how you treat your customers.

As a business owner and as a leader it is important you place honesty as part of your culture. Honesty can create the kind of work culture in which your employees feel empowered and validated.

A culture built on honesty helps foster workplace behavior and activity that is consistent regardless of external influences. In other words, your employees will behave with a consistent code of ethics regardless of the circumstances evolving outside their purview. Your human capital which is your staff will remain respectful and attentive even when faced with a rude customer that is in the wrong. This will help engender loyalty among your customers and help you remain profitable.


1 Comment ▼

Samson Haileyesus Samson Haileyesus is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector. He is passionate about public outreach, branding, media relations and marketing.

One Reaction
  1. I guess this comes from the consequences of their actions. They are usually punished when they tell the truth.