Anti-Bullying Week 2023 is taking place between Monday 13th and Friday 17th November, and so we are taking a look at the various ways that workplace bullying can impact employees and businesses. In a modern workplace, fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity is not just an ideal, it's a necessity and tackling workplace bullying is a key part of that. Workplace bullying can have significant consequences, affecting not only the victim but the business’ morale and productivity as a whole.
Recognising the Impact of Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying can take many forms, but it centres around repeated harmful behaviour that’s targeted towards one person or a group of people. It can involve verbal abuse, exclusion, criticism, intimidation or a combination of these. It’s important to not underestimate the impact that workplace bullying can have, and this impact spans far beyond the emotional toll it can take on the victim. Workplace bullying also creates an unhealthy work environment for the wider team, destroys trust between colleagues and impacts employee morale.
Workplace bullying can cause a lot of stress, anxiety and depression for victims, and this often leads to reduced self-esteem. It can also lead to a lack of motivation at work, decreased engagement and poor productivity. When employees feel bullied, they are more likely to look for a job elsewhere, which increases a business’ turnover rates. Not only does this result in increased recruitment and onboarding costs, but it leaves a business without vital talent.
How to Tackle Working Bullying as an Employer
Create an anti-bullying policy for your workplace, clearly highlighting what bullying behaviour looks like and the consequences. Share this anti-bullying policy with employees, and highlight the business’ dedication to creating a culture of respect. This policy should be reviewed and updated regularly.
It’s important to create a workspace where employees feel comfortable communicating problems to managers and leaders, including incidents of bullying. There should be multiple ways to report bullying, including anonymous routes, and employees should be able to do this without worrying about retaliation.
Educate employees in order to raise awareness about workplace bullying, the effects of workplace bullying and how to prevent it. Training can be given to ensure employees are aware of conflict resolution strategies, communication skills and how to address issues without other parties feeling bullied.
Ensure that all employees feel supported in the workplace, and offer counselling to those who have experienced bullying at work. It’s important that employees know that support, resources and guidance is available.
Regardless of industry or sector, employers need to address workplace bullying as soon as possible. Those that don’t could face damage to their reputation, which is likely to drive away top talent and hinder recruiting.