Is hybrid working beneficial for employee wellbeing?
October 9 2023Read more
Many of us have experienced bullying. Whether you have faced a bully or someone you love has in school, work, family, or on social occasions.
More often than not, it is a gradual process that gets worse with time and can be detrimental for mental wellbeing.
Anti-bullying Week addresses and raises awareness for children and young people who are affected by bullying. The awareness day is every third week in November and the theme for this year is ‘Make a noise about bullying.’
Their target is predominantly focused on children and younger people; however, bullying can happen at any age, and it doesn’t always stop after school.
Reports show that approximately 36% of adults in the UK have experienced discrimination in the workplace.
Many people face bullying on a daily basis, some disguised as ‘banter’ from a friend making a joke, unconscious bias, or through rumours. Colleagues may not know how to deal with bullying which can lead to a decrease in productivity and ultimately negatively affect business.
Regardless of the reason, bullying should never be appropriate and can be draining and confusing for the victim.
Bullying can take many forms in the workplace, such as face-to-face, email, phone, and Teams. It can be extremely difficult to see, especially in a busy work environment.
The bully may play their actions off as ‘banter’ or having a joke with a colleague. The victim may be too embarrassed to admit that they are being bullied or convince themselves that they are being overly sensitive.
There are physical and emotional signs to look out for when you think someone is being bullied in your organisation.
Here are some examples of workplace bullying:
Having an open and honest culture within the workplace is crucial for combatting bullying in the workplace. It allows colleagues to talk about their worries without judgment, giving them more confidence to talk about their bullying experience.
Talking about your own experiences with bullying can be really helpful in creating an honest environment and making people feel as though they are not alone, especially for victims.
With an open-door policy, managers have the opportunity to discover bullying before it can get too out of hand and allows them to act accordingly.
Policies and procedures are the bedrock of any organisation.
Creating an anti-bullying policy should be a top priority in combatting bullying in the workplace. Make sure it is clear what bullying is and what is not acceptable.
When a bullying or harassment issue arises, it is vital to have clear, concise, and fair policies that protect everyone.
Policies provide all colleagues with knowledge of what is expected of them so they can take accountability.
It is important to investigate allegations promptly, fairly, and seriously.
Refer to the bullying policies and use this to determine whether action needs to be taken against the allegation.
It is best to be as open-minded, unbiased, and as fair as possible when going into the investigation. Sometimes it might be best to have an external investigator who does not have any connection to the individuals involved to make it completely objective.
Whatever the allegation, make it clear that any form of bullying is not acceptable to all colleagues involved.
Training is essential to reinforce your bullying policy to colleagues.
Training is a lucrative time to make sure the organisation’s core values and policies around bullying are clear and understood.
This ensures colleagues have the correct and current knowledge, understand what is not acceptable, and can take accountability for their actions in the workplace.
Keep the training specific and make your policy of bullying clear to everyone. Focus on promoting kindness, discussions around bully prevention and encouraging an open and honest workplace culture.
Adopting and cultivating a positive work culture is a great way to increase employee satisfaction and deter bullies. Having a positive and kind workplace culture that is recognised by everyone discourages bullies.
Acknowledging acts of kindness within the workplace, regardless of how small, is a fantastic way to promote those who go out of their way to be kind and positive in the workplace. Recognizing those colleagues gives them a boost in confidence to continue the positivity and inspires others to do the same.
This could be through something as small as buying them lunch or giving them a shopping voucher. Whatever it is make sure it is clear that you value their positivity it is important to be especially vigilant to workplace bullying.
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