New statistics have revealed that some three quarters of employees will be bullied during their working life – yet despite the growing incidence of workplace harassment, employers aren’t getting any better at managing the issue, a recruitment expert has warned.
Workplace bullying ranges from intimidation and verbal abuse to discrimination and even physical harassment, and according to a new nation-wide poll by recruitment firm Employment Office, over half of all employees don’t believe their workplace is effective in managing incidents of bullying. It was also found that the most common forms of workplace bullying involve undue criticism of work, personal attacks, social isolation, verbal threats and spreading rumours. “Workplace bullying can really happen in any organisation, however it thrives in companies with a dysfunctional culture, where employees feel obligated to follow the leader or stick with the majority, rather than standing up for the safety and wellbeing of a bullying target,” Tudor Marsden-Huggins from Employment Office said.
The high legal costs of bullying suits arising from negligent management are well documented, but more insidious costs arise from disgruntled employees trashing the company’s culture online. “In these days of social media and personal broadcasting, if a company develops a reputation for having a dysfunctional corporate culture, it can stay with them for years. This makes the recruitment of quality candidates will be much more difficult, time-consuming and expensive,” Marsden-Huggins said.
The Productivity Commission has estimated workplace bullying costs the Australian economy up to $15bn a year, and that figure doesn’t include the hidden costs of recruiting and training employees to replace those who left as a result of continued harassment. Workplace harassment claims are typically much more costly than physical injury claims, with employees generally requiring more time off, and the impact to the business felt through lost productivity and damaged employee morale. “It’s unfortunate that psychological hazards aren’t given the same attention as physical dangers in the workplace. It’s time for employers to protect the emotional and mental wellbeing of their staff, not only for the employee’s sake, but also for the business,” Marsden-Huggins said.
In order to prevent bullying from affecting your workplace, employers must be more active at managing and monitoring their procedures, and ensure that victims of bullying can bring their complaints forward without fear of recrimination. It’s paramount that an employee has a clear way to bring complaints forward to be treated in a fair and unbiased manner, and by the same token, it’s crucial to treat the alleged bully with respect and use collaborative approaches instead of adversarial approaches to resolve differences.
Employers fume as injured worker wins dismissal claim
HR poised for wage boost
New frontier of skills shortage: environmental jobs market
Employees can't concentrate in cube farms
Don’t fall victim to the winter blues
Should HR avoid making friends at work?