According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, more than a third of the US workforce (35 per cent) reports being bullied at work. Another 15 per cent of workers witness bullying. That means that half of the American workforce is experiencing bullying either as a witness or victim.
Consequences of Bullying
Both victims and witnesses of bullying can become fearful and defensive. It interferes with their productivity, and sometimes the productivity of others who work with them, costing their companies.
Aside from the obvious negative health effects for the victim, bullying affects the morale in an organization. Everyone suffers.
“It doesn’t matter if the bully is a worker or a supervisor, the first step you must take as a business owner is to have a policy in place and be prepared to take the necessary steps to recognize and correct the problem,” says Timothy Dimoff, corporate security expert and president of SACS Consulting.
“Make sure you have a strong, written anti-bullying policy that clearly defines all non-acceptable behaviors,” says Dimoff. “And make the policy known to all staff, especially supervisory personnel. Let them know these actions will not be tolerated and enforce the policy.”
What to Include
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A strong anti-bullying policy should include the following:
- a clear definition of bullying, with examples of the actual behaviors that meet the definition of bullying
- steps employees can take to report bullying, including the steps to take when the bully is the victim’s manager
- a statement explaining that employees are “required” to report bullying
- an explanation of the investigation process that will follow a report of bullying
- consequences of violating the anti-bullying policy
- a statement that there will be no retaliation for reporting bullying
Until companies take bullying seriously and implement strong anti-bullying policies, backed up with enforcement, bullying will continue to affect the health and happiness of the workforce and the financial health of organizations.