We tend to think of bullying as something that only happens at school, but unfortunately, some people never grow up. Bullying is a problem across all ages and environments, and workplace bullying is more common than you may think. Whether it’s a critical boss belittling an employee or workers shunning a colleague, workplace bullying is on the rise. In fact, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, an astonishing 75% of respondents said they had either witnessed or been a victim of workplace bullying. The organization also reports that bullying on the job is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination.
In many cases, bullying isn’t illegal. Despite the wide spread notion that it is, unless the bullying is sexual, or violates some other stated rule, company policy, and/or federal, state or local laws, it may not be illegal. In other words, there isn’t a law requiring good manners, solid managers and civility in the workplace. However, any workplace with bullying behavior will experience higher turnover, lower productivity and is more likely to face litigation.
Could bullying be taking place in your workplace? One of the primary differences between schoolyard bullying and workplace bullying is that it tends to be less physical and more psychological or verbal in nature. Bullying can also take place in person or online. In fact, many bullies feel a lot braver when they can target their victims through a computer. Be on the lookout for behaviors that may include:
- Name-calling. Whether it’s receiving abusive messages via email or being insulted in the office, name-calling is demoralizing.
- Ignoring, shunning or excluding. Deliberating ignoring someone, or excluding them from relevant meetings, are ways of intentionally making him or her feel isolated.
- Belittling. Putting someone down for their efforts or opinions is cruel and not a constructive way to provide feedback.
- Misuse of power. This could include making threats about job security or intentionally thwarting someone’s progress at work.
- Spreading rumors. This kind of juvenile behavior can have a huge impact on the victim’s reputation and his or her well-being.
- Aggression. Any form of hostile behavior, such as shouting or intrusion of personal space, is unacceptable in the workplace.
Workplace bullying affects your bottom line. It’s in the interest of every business to make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated, as its effects include:
- Poor employee relations. Teamwork is vital for most businesses. Productivity improves when everyone works together ratherthan as adversaries.
- Low morale. A negative atmosphere can rapidly deteriorate motivation levels. Low morale is infectious, too, and can be difficult to eliminate.
- Inefficiency. When distracted by the threat of bullying, people often struggle to focus on their work.
- Increased turnover. Not only could you lose your existing staff, but if news spreads about a negative environment in your workplace, you’ll struggle to attract new talent.
How can you enhance the civility in your organization? Creating a positive workplace culture that rewards problem-solving and discourages bullying behaviors is key. Your leadership sets the tone for how employees are expected to treat each other. Create an environment where workers feel safe, happy and productive in their jobs.
Want to make your workplace somewhere people want to work? Somewhere managers understand how to provide constructive and meaningful feedback? Then please contact the experienced professionals at The HR Team.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. Tolearn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/