Bullying? Seriously? Bullying at workplace? Oh come on, it is not high school anymore.
If you belong to those people who think that bullying is only identical with kids and teens, you are not necessarily correct. Bullying does not end when we leave high school. In fact, bullying exists even in the workplace which is filled with mature adults.
The problem is, sometimes bullying between co-workers is hardly found under the radar due to their closed and not so obvious practices. However, the impact of bullying on workplace culture can be destructive.
Bullying at workplace can be seen in various forms, such as talking about certain employees behind their back, harshly criticising in the public, not involving them in important conversations, not inviting to social gatherings, or even stealing credits. The only goal of workplace bullying is to bring someone down and make them feel bad about themselves.
Even the smallest trail of bullying is not only disparaging for any individual, but also brings negative impact for the whole team. As a HR leader, it is important to look into employee relationship issues such as bullying more openly. HR department should be the first place, where employees go to seek help, when they experience bullying. HRs are not the last resort, when everything else does not work. Here are three steps to deal with bullying at workplace.
See: Effective Ways to Motivate Underperformers
Identify Who, What, When, Where, and How
Do not wait until the victim comes and sees you at the office to report bullying by their co-workers. Look around and evaluate what is happening in the office. Be proactive by engaging and building relationship within employees’ social circle.
If you smell something awkward in workings with one another, conduct thorough investigation to delve for more information regarding the issue. For example, when you hear employees are gossiping about a particular person, find out who bullies and who gets bullied, what kind of practices are deployed, and also when, where, and how does this happen.
Provide Response and Immediate Assistance
As a HR, if you have thoroughly investigated everything and found out the alleged bullies, initiate conversation between the bullies and the bullied. Inform the victims that you are on their side. Offer assistance and invite them to share their stories. For the bullies, address them right away such that they will realise their doings.
If necessary, you might need to take disciplinary action to give deterrent effect. Sometimes, a bully does not realise that they are being one, as they see it as a natural behaviour. No wonder that bullies reluctantly change their manners as it always works for them. To stop the loop, you need to monitor the progress to ensure that the bullying has stopped.
Socialise Company Culture
Bullying is prone to happen when a company does not have a healthy workplace culture. It is important to induct positive principles and behaviours such as trust and respect between all elements of the organisation.
Foster teamwork culture where everyone works and supports each other. When someone is trying to spread gossip or bad rumours about someone else, stop it at the moment to prevent any further problems. In addition, perform open door policy such that everyone can feel free to connect with their HR leaders.
Read also: How to Deal with Employee Complaints?