How to stop bullying in the work environment

Get a free consultation

Health Assured team

10 November 2023

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

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.

About bullying at work

Reports show that approximately 36% of adults in the UK have experienced discrimination in at work.

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.

How to spot bullying 

Bullying can take many forms, 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 bullying:

  • Exclusion of certain colleagues
  • Dismissal of someone’s efforts
  • Intimidation
  • Making unpleasant remarks
  • Criticizing others unfairly
  • Undermining work
  • Minimizing concerns of others
  • Belittling behaviour

Support your employees mental health with an EAP


How to stop bullying at work

  1. Adopt an open-door policy.

Having an open and honest culture within the in the working environment is crucial for combatting bullying. 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. 

  1. Have a strong and fair policy

Policies and procedures are the bedrock of any organisation.

Creating an anti-bullying policy should be a top priority in combatting bullying. 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.

  1. Take all reports of bullying seriously

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.

  1. Training

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 at work.

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 working culture.

  1. Acknowledge Kindness

Adopting and cultivating a positive work culture is a great way to increase employee satisfaction and deter bullies. Having a positive and kind working culture that is recognised by everyone discourages bullies.

Acknowledging acts of kindness within the at work, regardless of how small, is a fantastic way to promote those who go out of their way to be kind and positive. 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 bullying.

Support your employees mental health

Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and in life. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

For every £1 invested in an employee assistance programme, organisations can expect to see, on average a 10x return on investment.



Make your enquiry

Please complete the form below and we'll be in touch to answer your enquiry

Book a place on this workshop

Get a free consultation

Please complete the form and we'll be in touch to schedule your free consultation

An error occurred

We appologise but an error has occurred submitting your form. Please try again.

Mindful Employer
Stonewall Diversity Champion
Disability Confident Employer
bacp Accredited Service
International EAP Association
National Suicide Prevention Alliance
The Workplace Wellbeing Charter
Mental Health at Work
Cyber Essentials Plus
Investors in People Silver 2022
Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse
The Prince's Responsible Business Network
SEQOHS Accredited
helplines partnership