Workplace bullying takes place in many shapes and forms, with online technology providing new means to engage. Bullying has serious implications not only for individual employees, but also their colleagues and the broader organisation. Incidents of bullying have been linked to increased absenteeism, poor work morale, decreased productivity and a higher staff turnover.
According to SafeWork Australia, it is estimated that the cost of bullying is up to $36 billion per year, with the average case amounting to $17 000 - $24 000 for employers.
Here are five strategies managers and team leaders can put in place to make a difference when it comes to workplace bullying:
- Ensure organisational policies and procedures on bullying and harassment are relevant, clear and easily accessible to all employees. It’s critical that documents are updated regularly to relate to newer forms of bullying such as through social media. Employees should be aware where and how they can access these documents and be able to do so independently.
- Establish organisational systems that foster upwards and downwards communication about bullying and harassment. Processes for upwards communication should be a key focus, as employees are often reluctant to speak out due to fears of the implications. Consider processes that promote discretion, such as by having an anonymous reporting system or a staff member involved that is considered trustworthy and impartial.
- Regularly monitor bullying in the workplace in a comprehensive manner. Employers should seek to understand their employees experience. Information should not just rely on the number of bullying claims made, but should delve deeper into the workplace culture and climate through anonymous surveys, interviews and focus groups.
- Raise awareness, provide education and training on matters relevant to bullying, harassment and risk factors. Circulating and sharing information in the forms of posters, documents and emails can help prompt employees to be more mindful about their own and others’ behaviour and foster casual conversations about workplace behaviour.
- Manage work conditions that place increase psychological and emotional demands on employees and thus, predispose bullying. This might require an analysis of job designs and finding ways to manage work conditions such as high demand, high pressure, high competition, and low control situations in the workplace.
How Altius Group’s Manager Assistance Program Can Help with Workplace Bullying
Our Manager Assistance Program (MAP) provides workplace managers and supervisors access to our team of qualified, registered clinical and organisationally-trained psychologists, for support in dealing with difficult issues impacting their employees’ lives – including workplace bullying.
Our highly-skilled psychologists, based throughout Australia, work through complex issues with managers and supervisors to help them to best support the mental health, resilience and wellbeing of their employees. Our approach is friendly, caring and focused on practical solutions. Don’t wait until an issue occurs. Speak to us about being proactive in preventing workplace bullying today..
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