A study carried out by Bupa UK and Yougov (Workplace Wellbeing Census) found that 26% of people in the UK have experienced workplace bullying over the last few years. When comparing that to just 14% in 2019, it is clear that this negative behaviour is growing. The study also suggests that the pandemic has been influential due to health pressure, fear of job loss and unintentional exclusion from remote communications. Regardless of intentionality, the statistics remain the same, and companies must address the impact on wellbeing.
Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour. According to a UK study, 47% of workers have witnessed bullying at work. Furthermore, 24% of employees think their company turns a blind eye to workplace bullying. In the same vein, individuals may not know who they can talk to about these issues, allowing workplace bullying to go unnoticed.
Mark Allan, Commercial Director at Bupa UK Insurance says: “Organisations in all industries have had to adapt and evolve in the face of the crisis while working against a backdrop of major economic uncertainty”. Ultimately UK companies are navigating intense changes whilst sustaining positive wellbeing. Some organisations may have a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying. However, this may not be enough in 2021. Therefore, companies must use dynamic, adaptable, and inclusive strategies.
How to combat workplace bullying
Understandably, individuals may be afraid to speak up when it comes to workplace bullying. Your team may feel ashamed or concerned about how they will be perceived. However, bullying at work can take a toll on your overall wellbeing, and it is crucial to take care of your people. Perhaps, by being more vocal, you can build trust within your team.
Promote a positive company culture
Positive company culture is key to combating workplace bullying. Learn to identify what defines bullying, bullying can take many forms, and it is essential to spot the signs early. Setting a zero-tolerance approach is crucial to combatting any unfair behaviours in the workplace. Regularly talking with your team can help identify bullying behaviour and empowers staff to speak up if they see any behaviour that is not appropriate.
Take allegations seriously
Encourage employees to report any incidents of bullying, regardless if they are witnesses or the victim themselves. Creating a reporting culture is critical to demonstrate that investigations will be held for any allegations and treated seriously.
Keep a record
Lack of evidence is a common reason why bullying at work goes undisciplined. Take a proactive approach and track all instances of workplace bullying. Document all notes with time and dates, as this will help you create a timeline of events. If you have any witnesses, encourage them to do the same. Subsequently, this will significantly help when reporting bullying to your manager or HR team.
Employers are responsible for providing their employees with a healthy and safe working environment. Taking appropriate steps to eradicate workplace bullying improves employee morale, enhances employee retention and improves overall wellbeing.
To conclude, workplace bullying is an issue that affects every workplace. But, it can be eradicated effectively by remaining diligent, open and transparent with your people. Listening to how they feel and understanding the issues that the pandemic has brought is vital.
Here at Each Person, we can help you create a positive workplace. Simple gestures and perks at work can have a huge impact on the way people feel about themselves and their efforts.
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