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Bullying audits could prevent the blame game

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HC Online | 10 Oct 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Shiny bullying policies may abound, but do you know what’s really going on in your organisation? A proactive approach, including bullying audits and regular reviews could end wasted millions.
  • Bernie Althofer | 15 Oct 2012, 12:05 PM Agree 0
    The need for workplace bullying risk audits has been promoted and discussed in various forums for a number of years so it is great to see that some organisations are taking the advice.

    Whilst the case of Evans V Lee and the Commonwealth Bank a number of years ago was about sexual harassment, the Tribunal did make comments that audits/assessments should be conducted to see whether or not the policies and procedures were being implemented. These findings could also be applied in relation to workplace bullying.

    There is another issue regarding when to conduct a workplace bullying risk audit. Whilst in some cases, organisations may chose to conduct such an audit post-complaint, the proactive organisations do not wait that long. Instead, they ensure that a broad ranging audit is conducted in relation to workplace relations and counterproductive workplace behaviours. In this way, they can identify the level of risk exposure they face, the actual issues that have potential to cause grief, and then have the opportunity to identify and implement improvement strategies.

    It might well be the case that whilst bullying is perceived to be a major issue, underlying hazards and risk factors associated with organisational change, negative leadership, workplace culture etc are creating an environment conducive to bullying behaviours.

    I would encourage a proactive approach in conducting these audits, although I don't believe the audit per se will prevent bullying behaviours. A well conducted audit should identify those factors that might contribute to a breeding ground of bullying, and this in turn, gives officers and workers and opportunity to develop and implement strategies that will mitigate the fallout when bullying does occur.
  • Bernie Althofer | 15 Oct 2012, 05:44 PM Agree 0
    The need for workplace bullying risk audits has been promoted and discussed in various forums for a number of years so it is great to see that some organisations are taking the advice.

    Whilst the case of Evans V Lee and the Commonwealth Bank a number of years ago was about sexual harassment, the Tribunal did make comments that audits/assessments should be conducted to see whether or not the policies and procedures were being implemented. These findings could also be applied in relation to workplace bullying.

    There is another issue regarding when to conduct a workplace bullying risk audit. Whilst in some cases, organisations may chose to conduct such an audit post-complaint, the proactive organisations do not wait that long. Instead, they ensure that a broad ranging audit is conducted in relation to workplace relations and counterproductive workplace behaviours. In this way, they can identify the level of risk exposure they face, the actual issues that have potential to cause grief, and then have the opportunity to identify and implement improvement strategies.

    It might well be the case that whilst bullying is perceived to be a major issue, underlying hazards and risk factors associated with organisational change, negative leadership, workplace culture etc are creating an environment conducive to bullying behaviours.

    I would encourage a proactive approach in conducting these audits, although I don't believe the audit per se will prevent bullying behaviours. A well conducted audit should identify those factors that might contribute to a breeding ground of bullying, and this in turn, gives officers and workers and opportunity to develop and implement strategies that will mitigate the fallout when bullying does occur.
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