Workplace bullying has a huge toll on both the organization and the victims involved. It hinders workplace morale and individual growth to an extent that has huge repercussions on people’s lives. As for the organization, many times the victims end up suing it. Those Million dollar lawsuits are pretty common nowadays and companies must be on the lookout in order to survive.
A Human Resource Manager should always be on the lookout for this kind of behavior in order to protect the employees. No employee would come to work worrying about how they are going to be humiliated today.
How HR can identify workplace bullying
Bullying is a kind of harassment that is not based on any particular niche. It’s all about preying on the week. But in reality, it’s the perpetrator that’s the week, not the victim. It’s a result of emotional distress, insecurities, and lack of empathy that leads to this kind of behavior. It is not completely illegal but severely harms workplace culture.
There is no official classification of workplace behavior that could be considered as bullying. So one may find it difficult to differentiate it from tough management. Many times employees fall under the misconception of being harassed when there’s a lot of workloads. Stress will always be part of the work life and there will always be complaints regarding it. However, there are certain signs that HR can identify to sort out the possibility of bullying.
The common signs of bullying in the workplace:
- Harsh criticism
- Physical Harm
- Undermining in front of peers
- Misuse of authority for unofficial tasks
- Excessive absenteeism
- High turnover rate
- Frequent transfer requests
- Requests for being relocated at another desk
There could be many other similar signs suggesting that an employee might be subject to bullying. It’s the responsibility of an HR to look after the employees and provide help in case anything unethical is taking place.
How HR can fight workplace bullying
Every organization is subject to workplace bullying. Wherever people get together to work towards common goals and share mutual risk, conflict is basically inevitable. That’s why companies have Human Resource departments to manage their workforce. You’re the only employee that’s directly responsible for every other employee’s welfare in the company. It’s your job description and social responsibility to make sure no harm comes to your fellow colleagues. Especially when it comes from the inside.
Following are 3 different methods to approach 3 different stages of an organization in regard to workplace bullying.
The first and foremost step is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Even if your employees seem to enjoy their work and get together well, you have to make sure that it stays that way. As an HR it’s one of your core responsibilities to keep your employees in sync. Organize lunch and learn sessions and similar collaborative activities, so that everyone stays friendly with others. Encourage getting together outside office hours. Socializing outside the office environment will make everyone feel like friends rather than colleagues. Implement Your Safe Hub in your organization. It’s a secure communication channel for your employees to report and speak about issues that are sensitive in nature.
This comes into action when the prevention stage has failed. Something unethical is happening or has taken place that you now must deal with as soon as possible. Do not let the situation escalate. Tackle the problem as soon as you identify it. Too much stalling will only lead to employees taking the matter into their own hands or leaving the organization. If you ever get a doubt of bullying taking place among your workforce, immediately begin your investigation process. Talk to the employees in question privately. Start by approaching the victim casually. You don’t want to grab everyone’s attention or make them think they’re being ratted out. Use your HR skills to make them share their issues. Let the suspected victim know that whatever happens, you are with him/her through the whole thing.
Even though the situation has escalated a bit too much to conduct any preventive measures, their still a lot you can do. Communication is affected when there is mistrust between the workforce. Employees become secretive about their problems and issues. This whole problem takes a snowball effect and the barrier in communication makes it harder for the management to take any corrective action. Implement Your Safe Hub in your organization. It’s a secure and anonymous communication channel for your employees. They can report and speak about issues anonymously without having to worry about retaliation.