There are a lot of potential hazards that can threaten the growth and success of a business. They include everything from health and safety to poor budget management. But, one of the things that is often overlooked is the threat of employee behaviour. If you want your staff to maximise their productivity and remain motivated, their mental health needs to be sound. Unfortunately, when workplace bullying comes into effect, it can cause some severe mental trauma.
Not only will this be a detrimental factor for your employees, but the business as well. You’re not going to achieve success if your employees aren’t able to perform at their highest level. Ultimately, everyone suffers, and in the worst cases, it could put your company in danger of going out of business.
That’s why we’re going to take a moment to look at workplace bullying in a bit more detail. What does it include? Why does it happen? What can be done about it? We’re glad you asked.
Types Of Bullying
We’ll start by looking at the types of workplace bullying, and boy are there a lot of them! Sometimes, it’s subtle, while at others, it’s very obvious. Keep some of the following things in mind when you’re looking out for signs of bullying.
Firstly, it could start with the work that an employee is carrying out. You might find that an employee’s work has been stolen or manipulated by someone else, for example. A jealous co-worker might just deny opportunities that an employee should be allowed to engage in, too. It might even just be an unwillingness to communicate with someone else. This denies both parties an opportunity to maximise productivity.
Those are some of the more subtle things, but bullying includes many of the forms that we experienced growing up. Insults and gossip behind an employee’s back can be extremely detrimental. You’d be amazed how often it occurs in the workplace. Humiliation in a public setting such as via offensive emails is yet another form of bullying.
And of course, the way an employee is managed can sometimes be determined as bullying. There should be no favourites by management, and everyone should get equal opportunities. If that isn’t happening, it’s probably a case of bullying.
Why Does It Occur?
It can occur for all sorts of reasons. It might be that one employee is jealous of another due to their success in their role. Sometimes, other employees don’t feel like they’re getting rewarded for their efforts, so they’ll take it out on those who are.
It’s also important to remember that bringing in a group of strangers into a business always has the potential for problems. Everyone has different personalities, and it’s a guarantee that they won’t all get along swimmingly. Still, you need to create an environment where even if certain employees don’t get on, they can remain professional.
There are many other reasons why workplace bullying can occur, from boredom to a source of humour. What’s important to know is when someone has overstepped the mark. Some people who are classed as bullies aren’t always aware they’re causing harm. There’s a fine line between bullying and friendly banter in some cases, and it’s often overstepped.
What Can You Do About It?
This is where you come in. Firstly, your company needs to set a list of ground rules about what constitutes bullying. This should be included in a company manual, and employees should understand the rules well. This might include a regular refresher in a company meeting. It’s important that everyone is informed of the company’s expectations.
It’s your duty of care to protect your employees, and this means you might want to go one step further. EAP services, for example, might help to review your policies and provide counselling support. Going the extra mile to help those who feel vulnerable is important in any case.
Sometimes, employees don’t feel like they can talk to their bosses, however. This is where bullying becomes a real problem because it’s allowed to continue with no repercussions. This often leads to the victim becoming more affected by it, leading to time off work and poor productivity. And, even worse than that; the bully starts taking matters further due to a lack of clamping down on your part.
In a case like this, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, keep your door open at all times and make it clear to your staff that they can talk to you whenever they need to. It’s important to have this relationship with your employees. Still, that doesn’t mean they’ll always take heed of that advice. It’s your duty to keep an eye out for any signs of workplace bullying. If you’re concerned in any way, you might need to take the matter further.
Are You The Cause Of It?!
Woah, shocking statement, I know. But, just take a minute to think about this. Are you the one that has been so-called ‘bullying’ your employees? If this is indeed the case, I’m sure you do not mean to do it on purpose. But, bullying can take a lot of forms, including showing preferential treatment to certain staff. You’re the person in charge of things, and that means you’ve got a lot of people to deal with. Without even realising it, you might be the problem.
I don’t want to be harsh on you, though. You’ve got a heck of a job on your hands, and it’s hard to keep everyone satisfied. So, here’s what I propose to you. Hold regular staff meetings with as many of your team members as you can. Put out surveys to your entire set of employees about how the business is running. Constantly look for their feedback, and make sure you’ve got a got picture of how they feel about the business. By doing this, you’ll hopefully be able to identify any issues and put a stop to them before they become a real problem.
It’s time to end workplace bullying for good!