Bullying costs businesses in the UK £-millions every year – it’s a fact!
Averaged over the whole economy, it racks up a cost of £1000 per employee.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is something more closely related to playground conflicts, but the reality is that, on a daily basis, staff in public and private sectors are unfairly targeted, put-down and victimised by behaviour from colleagues, which is largely left unreported.
It’s an unavoidable physical, and emotional response triggered when something you care about is at stake. Fear of underperformance, missing a deadline, or meeting someone’s expectations, are present in everyone’s lives every day, meaning stress cannot be eliminated. Unfortunately, though, high absenteeism, staff turnover, poor morale and productivity, are symptoms of a stressed workforce.
The last 24 months have only exasperated this, in fact, since 2020, our health services have been overwhelmed by people who are struggling and seeking support and speaking up is becoming more common – at least in some organisations.
Why bullying should never be ‘accepted’
“Let it go; get over it; ignore them”
Bullying is never acceptable. And it does not make you a stronger person for enduring it – the sooner this is learned, the quicker most organisations can work to address the challenge.
Part of the problem is that there are so many facets to bullying that it feels hard to know where to start; and the other is that there is rarely a single solution that will cure it.
Bullying is a subject that we have covered extensively in our blogs. We have covered how to create a zero-tolerance culture around bullying, and understanding the types of bullies and how to deal with them.
These are some other activities that you can engage in or encourage within your organisation for Stress Awareness Month:
Actions organisations need to take to mitigate the risks’
Resources are plentiful when looking for support in addressing childhood bullying, but less so when looking for resources that can help address bullying in the workplace. Perhaps it’s because it’s a more complex issue and “we’re all adults around here, let it go, don’t take it so seriously” is favourite gaslighting approach from the perpetrators, but the effects are arguably much more severe and long lasting and costly to the organisation if a tribunal is raised.
So, how do you implement a system that provides the guardrails needed and propels your business forward?
● Firstly, it is very important to acknowledge that bullying comes in many different forms and is never acceptable.
● If you’re familiar with the types of bullying, call it out when you see it, or at the very least report it. Don’t let it go unreported.
● Follow through with remedial action
The anxiety, fear and mental health challenges as a result of bullying are crippling, and absenteeism rates increase. As mostperpetrators are typically those in more senior positions, victims can feel gagged even if they choose to take a stand and speak up.
To this end we recommended the following measures to help mitigate the chances of your organisation suffering any further bullying:
● Defining clear organisational values and expected behaviours.
● Provide easy anonymous reporting mechanisms to protect your employees.
● Agree on clear group and individual targets.
● Conduct regular personal assessments and appraisals.
● Regular organisational health checks (surveys, pulse surveys) can be used to gain feedback to ascertain whether you have a potential problem in your organisation.
Start by listening
We crafted a useful guide to help you begin your journey towards a happy, healthy and far more productive organisation. You can download the free e-Book here.
And finally, there are tools that are an essential part of many organisation’s arsenals and should be part of yours too.
Anonymous Speak Up: A safe and secure way for your people to anonymously raise concerns via phone, tablet, or PC, ensuring you are aware of any workplace issues and can respond quickly and accordingly
Consolidated Case Management: A secure online place to record, track, update, and report on all speaking up matters, whether raised through WorkInConfidence or directly.
Surveys: Easily set up, run and interpret surveys on engagement, respect, wellness or other topics to ensure you always understand your people, their needs and motivations.
Discussion Boards: Demonstrate your commitment to collaboration with discussion boards to accelerate employee engagement and gain greater insights – anonymously if required.