Nearly half of UK employees (49%) have lied at work, new research from job site Glassdoor reveals.
The most common reason for telling lies at work is to avoid getting into trouble, while 34% have lied to hide mistakes, the survey of over 1,000 UK employees found.
Some workers have lied at work in order to fly under the radar and avoid standing out — 40% of employees who have been dishonest at work have done so because it is easier to agree with the majority.
Furthermore, almost one quarter (24%) said they have lied because their boss or colleagues do not like to hear diverse opinions. Three quarters of employees believe that saying what you really think at work can get you into trouble and 56% say they hide their true feelings at work.
A further 17% of those surveyed said they have lied because they do not like giving honest feedback to colleagues.
Although 39% reported that lying is commonplace where they work, only 22% of employees say that lying in the workplace is acceptable.
However, more than two thirds (69%) said that telling a “white lie” at work so as not to hurt someone’s feelings is justifiable.
“Trustworthiness, integrity and good judgement are clearly all attributes that every employer would naturally look for in its employees,” said Joe Wiggins, EMEA director at Glassdoor.
“So it is concerning that such a large proportion of UK employees admit to having lied at work, especially if the reason is to cover up mistakes. But it also begs the question: are enough employers encouraging an environment where people feel comfortable with transparency?
“If there is a culture of peer pressure or an environment where diversity of thought is not valued and nurtured, this leads to people masking their true feelings, which could lead to more systemic deceptions as well as bias.”
Only half of those surveyed feel their CEO and senior leaders are authentic and 46% do not think their employer values authenticity amongst staff.
However, the research points to several benefits of authenticity at work — 72% of employees said it creates a strong workplace culture and 77% said authenticity builds better relationships with colleagues and customers.
“Authenticity is one of the key attributes of leadership. If authenticity is lacking, then it sets the tone for the wrong type of corporate culture,” said Wiggins.