Is HR doing enough to prevent bullying?

Many Kiwis are experiencing bullying due to their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability

Is HR doing enough to prevent bullying?

Nearly half (45%) of New Zealand professionals have experienced bullying or harassment at work due to their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, according to new research.

The figure rises to 64% of people living with a disclosed disability, 58% of people who identify as LGBTIQ+, 50% of women and 50% of mature-age people, according to the Hays survey of over 1,000 people across Australia and New Zealand.

Even though less men than women overall report bullying or harassment, at 37% it is still alarmingly high.

Moreover, when asked what steps were taken to stop the bullying or harassment, 41% of respondents said none. A further 15% of those who experienced bullying and harassment chose to leave the organisation rather than report the behaviour.

Other respondents said they reported the issue to HR, a team leader, supervisor or manager and it was resolved promptly to their satisfaction. This frequently involved mediation or the appointment of an investigator.

Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, said it was important to explore this issue through a diversity and inclusion lens since bullying and harassment cuts through many of the key diversity and inclusion considerations identified through talking to both employers and professionals.

“Measures range from the formal letter of the law, sanctions and workplace guides to day-to-day awareness of leaders and managers and the behaviours of all employees,” said Shapley.

“However, given our findings, it seems that despite a growing awareness of the problem, more needs to be done to stop harassment and bullying at work – for all demographic groups.”

Employers could start by becoming aware of anti-bullying laws and follow correct procedures – if they aren’t already, according to Hays.

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