On-boarding, training, education, relationship building – HR is already taking the steps to reduce bullying as much as possible, but is the problem more widespread than many in HR thought?
Not only do 45% of Canadian workers say they have felt bullied at work, one-third have had health problems because of it and more than a quarter (26%) have quit their jobs.
The latest CareerBuilder survey shows the majority of incidents go unreported, with just a third reported to HR and half the victims choosing not to confront those involved.
The guilty parties tended to be co-workers and bosses, with customers and supervisors also being common perpetrators. A quarter (26%) were bullied by someone younger than them while 55% were bullied by someone older.
The most common forms of bullying were being held to different standards, being ignored, accused of mistakes and being criticized or belittled.
Studies show that even non-victims quit jobs when they witness bullying, and the cost of bullying in terms of turnover, productivity and absenteeism is difficult to calculate.
So what is the best practice for identifying and managing bullying at work?
Have a workplace guide
Some provinces include bullying in workplace safety and harassment legislation, but regardless of your legal obligation your company should have a clear bullying policy. Set out what level of conduct is expected, what is unacceptable and what consequences will follow breaking those guidelines.
Identify the behaviour, and the bully
Bullies rarely act up around managers, so tools such as anonymous reporting can help victims feel confident to report the attacks. Look for other signs such as individuals who dominate conversations and meetings, take credit for others’ work and sarcasm or humour that is too personal or has a cruel edge.
Show staff that your company won’t tolerate bad behaviour – don’t wait for a crisis. Talk to the bully, in a direct but not confrontational or emotional way. Specify the behaviour that’s unacceptable.
Have clear steps to take
Follow your company guide in deciding what the right action is – does the bully get written up, offered counselling, lose pay or get fired?
Have your say
Do you use social media as an internal communication tool?
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