Honest employees perform better on the job

A new study reveals that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to work ethic.
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Mar 11, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

The more honest an employee, the higher his or her job performance, according to a new Baylor University survey. Researchers already knew that integrity could predict job performance. Now they’ve confirmed that humility and honesty are also major determining factors. The study appears online in the Personality and Individual Differences journal and is the first to link honesty and humility to better job performance.

Baylor researchers, along with a business consultant, surveyed 269 employees in 25 different companies across 20 states who worked in positions providing healthcare for challenging clients. Supervisors of the employees in the study rated the job performance of each employee on 35 different job skills and described the kind of customer the employee worked with. Baylor researchers were able to examine which personality variables were associated with job performance ratings.

Researchers found that those who self-reported more honesty and humility were scored significantly higher by their supervisors for their job performance. The researchers defined honesty and humility as a tendency to exhibit high levels of fairness, greed-avoidance, sincerity, and modesty. Researchers say this study has implications for hiring personnel and suggest managers pay more attention to honesty and humility in applicants and employees, particularly those in care-giving roles. Honest and humble people could be a good fit for occupations that require special attention and care for products or clients. However, narcissists—who generally lack humility and are exploitative and selfish—would probably be better at jobs that require self-promotion.