You would think that the act of bullying would stop once high school was over. Think again. Research from University of Phoenix showed that almost 75% of employees surveyed had been affected by workplace bullying, whether as a target or a witness
So what exactly is workplace bullying?
“Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or work-interference, i.e. sabotage, which prevents work from getting done,” from Workplace Bullying Institute.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job.
When you, as the leader of an organization allow bullying to occur you create the following problems:
1. The target of the bullying will experience a loss of confidence and an increase in stress that often shows up in health problems.
2. By allowing the bullying to continue you are accepting a toxic culture,
3. Eventually the target will have no recourse but to leave. You now have lost a good employee and have all the costs of a new hire.
The reality is that the leadership team is responsible. Bullying cannot happen without approval. It’s up to you to create an environment that is safe and healthy for the entire team.
The first step is to acknowledge that the bullying is happening and confront the bully. You need to talk to the victim to better understand the timeline of when the bullying occurred and for how long. If you have a victim that comes to you first about a problem, you need to show support and empathy and take action to find out the situation.
Your company also needs to adopt an anti-bullying policy that all employees must sign and adhere to. You also need to train your employees to spot signs of bullying activity.
If your company needs help putting such a policy in place or would like training conducted on making workplaces safer for employees, click here to see our strategic HR partnerships and services.