The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines workplace bullying as repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It can result from acts of commission such as verbal abuse or threats as well as omission like withholding resources. And it is more common than you think.
According to the latest survey from WBI, conducted in 2017, 61 percent of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace and 60 million are affected by it. But it’s not just employees who suffer. That’s because bullying can increase turnover, absenteeism, and legal claims, making it a top priority for employers as well.
Here are some ways you can help.
- Watch for signs. Victims may feel anxious, alienated and depressed as well as experience physical symptoms such as headaches so look for sudden changes in employees’ behavior. It’s also wise to pay attention to what you hear around the water cooler and witness in employee interactions.
- Offer support. Be sure all employees have the opportunity to discuss their concerns – and not just with their boss since, in many cases, the bully holds a higher rank. To encourage reporting of the bully’s behavior, make sure workers know they can speak to HR confidentially. You’ll also want to share any resources available if they need additional support.
- Have a zero tolerance policy. It’s critical to create an anti-bullying culture. Show you don’t tolerate the abusive behavior by developing formal policies against it, outlining appropriate conduct, and specifying reporting procedures so bullies know they can’t get away with their actions. And try to discourage competition and reward collaboration instead.
- Train. Help managers and supervisors spot bullying behavior by training them on examples of unacceptable actions and what they should do to help prevent bullying and address any complaints that arise.
If you want more help on creating a safe and productive workplace, watch our video on managing difficult employees above. Or contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332-9325.