What Can We Do?
Waiting around for legislation to fix this very real problem in the workplace might not be your best bet. The line between bullying and harassment is very thin, and any employee who leaves your company because he or she was bullied just might come back with a lawyer—never mind the loss in revenue due to employer turnover rates, loss of productivity, and low morale associated with bullying.
BLR® recommends the following actions be taken to recognize and prevent bullying:
- Recognize the negative impact of bullying in the workplace.
- Make sure you can identify bullying behavior when you see it.
- Follow and enforce the organization’s policy on workplace bullying.
- Treat everyone at work with respect, and encourage employees to do the same.
- Familiarize your employees with the organization’s policy against bullying.
- Learn conflict resolution techniques, and teach them to employees so that they can deal effectively with bullying behavior.
- Take a public stand against bullying, and let employees know that you, personally, are opposed any kind of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior on the job.
- Let employees know that you will enforce the organization’s policies against those who bully coworkers.
- Never ignore bullying; encourage reporting of all incidents of bullying right away.
- Protect targets from bullies, and provide counseling to help them cope and to help restore damaged performance and working relationships.
- Encourage employees to cooperate with investigations.
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You can also provide training to everyone at the company, managers included, about bullying and how destructive and damaging it can be for your business. Train your employees to do the following things which might help the situation:
- Stand up for yourself. Training employees to stand up against the bully can help keep bullies from coming back for more cheap thrills.
- Find someone to talk to. Instruct your employees to have someone to talk to should they be bullied, like an HR manager or someone who has a supporting role in the company.
- Remain calm. Train your employees to remain calm and not to blow up on their aggressor, which might result in more than verbal abuse.
- Document the bully’s behavior as best you can so you have proof when you go to make a claim against him or her.
- Instruct employees to speak up if they witness bullying. Let them know how damaging it can be to witness bullying but say nothing—it’s essentially tacitly supporting bullying.
- Instruct victims of bullying to leave the room or building, and report bullying if it should ever get physical.
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