Do you have any colleague who use to tease you or sabotage you? Well... this is a ”good” start for bullying.
Behind every bullying behavior, we can see a lot of implications for an employee: a stressful environment, a decline of performance or commitment to the organization, a decrease of work effort or work quality, maybe quitting the job. Because of this, the costs of workplace bullying are high for both employees and employers.
From both sides, there has to be done some things.
As an employee, you can:
- Acknowledge that there is a problem. Have you seen ”the elephant from the room” ? Name it! Bullies can make you feel as it¢s your fault or you just exaggerate. By giving it a name, you can remind yourself that it is a real problem and you are not to blame.
- Document the behavior. About the future steps you may take, it is important to count all the toxic workplace behaviors. It helps to have specific examples to support your claims. This can serve as a reminder that the abuse is more than just a feeling.
- Focus on healing and support. Because your health and well-being are the priority, it is important to check the ways in which bullying is affecting your mental and physical health. If you find you are suffering, seek help from specialists.
- Strategy and actions. Take time to search company policies and a legal framework to support this situation. Based on this, you can plan some actions and you can involve the management team from the company, the HR or the Legal advisor.
- Follow-up. What happened after your complain? If nothing happened, it is not anymore your responsibility to change something in the company¢s culture. For you, it is important to make decisions that are best for your well-being.
As an employer, you can not be aware of what is happing daily in your teams. To ensure a healthy work environment, you can:
- Review available internal policies. Examine if your employees know what they have to do when they are the victims of some bullying behaviors. To whom they have to address? Or what measures you have to take when you receive a complaint?
- Open a dialogue with current employees. Are they satisfied with their work? Are you ok with your turnover rate? Create a safe, open space where employees can discuss their concerns and wants. This can be in the form of anonymous surveys, individual discussions, or both. Be sure to listen to and seriously consider the information your employees share with you.
- Take action. After reviewing data, policies, and interviews, you may have conflicting or unclear information. You may receive complaints about individuals whom you considered your best employees or find that your mission and values as an organization are not being upheld in practice. Leaders within the organization must discuss these findings and determine what specifically needs to change, whether it is different hiring practices, improved policies for employee conflict, or a stronger adherence to the beliefs of the organization.
It is not is easy to confront bullying because is meant to address any toxic behaviors that had been allowed or even encouraged up until that point. While this could require large changes, creating a healthy workplace culture and having policies in place to support all employees is a smart business decision. This investment on the front end can save losses in turnover, work productivity, and even lives.