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Nice Guys Win on Productivity and Personality

Agreeable Workers Viewed as More Productive and Social in Workplace..

Jon Weiner


RALEIGH, N.C., November 9, 2011 - A recent study revealed agreeable workers tend to have lower incomes than less agreeable, rude or aggressive employees. However, a new survey by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life programs and employee benefits, has uncovered a different perception – almost half of American workers (45 percent) believe employees with more agreeable personalities (those who seem more tolerant, less controlling, or more willing to consider co-workers’ ideas) are more successful in the workplace.


While salary levels may indicate less agreeable employees are more financially successful, it seems many American workers share a contrasting view about what makes an employee valuable. For example, 43 percent of respondents think agreeable employees are more productive than less agreeable employees – meaning agreeable employees could have a more positive effect on the bottom line.


“Every employer faces challenges when managing different personality types,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “It’s important for managers to recognize the impact personality has on performance. If lack of agreeableness is affecting productivity or communication, the workplace, and the business, could suffer.”


Office Reputation

An employee’s personality will help shape their reputation within the workplace – and a poor reputation may affect teamwork or collaboration. According to the Workplace Options survey, nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of respondents believe agreeable workers are better co-workers from a social perspective (i.e. willingness to clean up, socialize with colleagues, participate in birthday celebrations, etc.).


“While some less agreeable or aggressive employees may succeed in certain areas, they may also be driving their co-workers away and negatively affecting teamwork capabilities,” Debnam added. “It’s important to have a healthy balance of personalities within any organization, and knowing how to best manage and motivate staff can make the difference between healthy and harmful team dynamics.”.


A manager’s reputation may also suffer if they are rewarding poor or aggressive behavior. In some instances, managers are willing to reward employees for actions that are good for the bottom line – regardless of how the situation is handled.

“Managers should take a step back and examine their own willingness to reward less agreeable behavior,” added Debnam. “While it may not always be intentional, employees will take note of their manager’s decisions and it could affect loyalty or performance.”



Depending on personality type, some employees have better success confronting situations head-on, while more passive employees may wait for an ideal opportunity to arise before having an uncomfortable conversation. So how should one approach a conversation with their superior about compensation or title? According to the Workplace Options survey, 58 percent think they would have more success asking for a raise or promotion using a more agreeable and passive approach. Employers can help their staff recognize how best to approach these tough conversations by offering training opportunities or seminars on personal development and communication with superiors.


Workplace Options provides a number of programs and employer solutions designed to help employees balance their work, family and personal life. To learn more about the employee solutions provided by Workplace Options, please visit Also, follow us on Twitter at @workplaceoption and visit Workplace Options' YouTube channel at


The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, September 8-11. The survey polled 637 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/-3.9%.






About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and well-being services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.


Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh, N.C., London, Toronto, Dublin, Singapore, Panama, and Tokyo support more than 46 million employees in over 34,000 organizations, across more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit


© 2014 Workplace Options, Inc. All rights reserved.