Over 25 percent of Americans say they have experienced workplace bullying.
Anyone find that previous statement shocking? Sadly, probably very few of you do. A survey last year conducted by Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) reported that over one-quarter of American adults (27%) claimed that they had directly experienced abusive conduct at work. That’s roughly one in four workers!
Back in November 2013, we wrote about a widely publicized case of workplace harassment that took place within the Miami Dolphin’s NFL team. The WBI survey illustrates that this behavior is not limited to high profile professional sports organizations by any stretch of the imagination. Workplace bullying isn’t simply a nuisance or a mild impediment to employee productivity. It can be a blemish to a company’s brand, as well as a hindrance to talent recruitment and retention. Intimidation like this can also possibly escalate to violence and crime. Management should never excused or ignored it.
“I think that the incidences of workplace bullying are on the rise for several reasons,” says Tina Hamilton, PHR, president of myHR Partner. “People in general are worried about their financial situations and job security, and that can manifest itself at work in aggressive or defensive behaviors. Companies are also getting by with smaller workforces, so naturally tensions can flair, bringing out the worst in some people. Lastly, our society as a whole has become more belligerent over the last few years, so we are bound to see some related negative behaviors show up in the workplace.”
Practical ways to promote a company culture where bullying cannot take root or flourish:
- Make sure your managers are well trained. Educate them so they can play a pivotal role in defending against bullying behaviors. Train your managers on how to detect, circumvent and deal with intimidating, threatening and violent behaviors swiftly and directly.
- Lead with empathy and compassion. Many people who feel bullied are not comfortable telling management about it, and not all acts of bullying are conspicuous. Showing you care about all your employees encourages them to come forward when problems arise outside of the manager’s field of view.
- Look for clues as to why employees are acting the way they do. In real life, real people have many facets to their lives, both professionally and personally. Often what you see as a manager or employer is only part of the larger picture, only a particular action or effect. If you can find out what is behind the bad or fearful behavior, many times you can take effective steps to remedy a situation. Look beyond just a singular incident.
Whether it’s training, a clear harassment policy or other workplace bullying deterrents, we’ve got you covered.
Today’s employers have to be proactive to avoid workplace violence, harassment law violations and employee dissatisfaction. It takes a strategic, broad approach to maintain a positive, productive and profitable workforce. Our team of HR experts is here to help you achieve your workforce goals. Email us, or call us at 610-443-0119 to discuss how myHR Partner training and myHR DirectLink Services can help your business.