How to prevent workplace bullying

According to a YouGov Poll, 29% of people in the UK have been the victim of workplace bullying.

 

That's nearly 3 in every 10 workers and would equate to 9.1 million of the UK workforce.

 

Workplace bullying is easy to miss. As an employer, you may be too busy to notice if an employee is subtly mistreating another employee.

 

And to make matters worse, both the bully and victim might be good at hiding their respective roles. They might not even realise they’re playing these roles. The bully might excuse their actions as a joke or workplace “banter”, while the victim might think they’re just being over-sensitive.

 

So how do you deal with such a hidden problem?

 

1. Understand what workplace bullying is

Acas defines workplace bullying as “any unwanted behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended.”

 

Some examples include:

- Constantly criticising a colleague and taking duties and responsibilities away from them without good reason.

- Shouting, aggressive behaviour or threats.

- Putting a colleague down and making them the butt of jokes, in private or in front of others.

- Ignoring, victimising or excluding a colleague.

- Spreading rumours about them.

 

2. Communicate your approach to your staff

It’s a good idea to explain your stance on bullying to new team members during their induction. If you have an anti-bullying policy, you could use this time as an opportunity to talk them through it. An efficient way to do this is through a welcome presentation or simply have it outlined in an employee handbook.

 

3. Cultivate a positive working culture

Because work can be fast-paced and stressful, it can be difficult to find time to build significant and positive relationships with all your colleagues. One way to get around this issue is to create a friendly workplace environment. As well as increasing staff morale, it’ll make cases of bullying stand out more.

 

To foster a positive team spirit, you could organise social events outside of working hours. Some examples include book clubs, fitness classes and the occasional after-work charity fundraiser. If you have space, you could even hold these events in your workplace.

 

Remember, you should cater your social events to the needs of your staff. Think about the personalities within your organisation and tailor their rewards around them. This will help encourage employee engagement with the activity and increase the chance of building positive relationships in the workplace.

 

Cost of workplace bullying

According to an Acas study, bullying-related absenteeism, turnover and lost productivity costs UK organisations £13.75 billion annually.

 

This staggering figure reaffirms that workplace bullying can have detrimental effects on employers, not just the victim and their co-workers who witness it. If not dealt with swiftly, workplace bullying can contribute to:

 

- Reduced productivity

- A hostile work environment

- Increased absenteeism

- Reduced employee loyalty and commitment

 

By implementing the points raised in this guidance, you will progress towards creating a work environment that cultivates teamwork, cooperation and positive interaction. And one that sets your organisation’s stance on workplace bullying.

 

 

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

0844 892 2493

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