Study: Co-workers more likely to take potshots at ugly ducklings
  • leadership
  • Blog post

Study: Co-workers more likely to take potshots at ugly ducklings

So you thought all of your employees had gotten over their high school behavior?

A new study makes you wonder.

The research, done by professors at Michigan State University and Notre Dame, concluded that unattractive employees were more likely to be the target of unkind “jokes,” cruel remarks and other rude behavior in the workplace than more attractive people.

The study surveyed 114 workers at a healthcare facility, asking them about incidents of unkind behavior directed at them by co-workers. The attractiveness or unattractiveness of the survey participants was determined by people who did not know them but looked at digital photographs of them.

High school isn’t over
The researchers said their findings showed that even when age, gender and seniority on the job were factored in, unattractive people reported being treated more harshly by co-workers.

As we said, it’s a lot like high school.

What to do: Clearly you don’t want to single out employees who are less favored by nature for special pampering or attention. They’ll quickly figure out that something phony is going on. But keep a watchful eye on your ugly ducklings, and if you notice people giving them a hard time, don’t hesitate to step in and find out what is going on.

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