The Rising Threat Of Cyberbullying
The number of cyberbullying cases all over the world have been rising drastically every year. There is no fixed place for it to take place as bullies can take many forms and are not limited to a single industry. However, hospitals, customer care services, and schools are recognized as hotspots for these kinds of behaviors.
Workplace cyberbullying is rarely reported due to the very limited parameters that it is defined in. Cyberbullying is also way more complex than what we all know as general bullying. Cyberbullying is much more related to inescapable mental trauma instead of mere physical harm.
Workplace cyberbullying can be defined as aggressive behavior, practiced via electronic media, that can demean, demoralize or harm the victim, and can take place beyond work hours. Workplace cyberbullying can leave the victims troubled and unable to cope as it can even spread to the employee’s homes.
The Inescapable Trauma
It’s hard to understand what the victim who’s receiving those threats and comments must feel like. For instance, in hospitals, nurses constantly receive harsh treatment in the form of threats from the patient’s relatives. It’s really hard to understand the point of view of the victim in these cases, considering the offending party just lost one of their loved ones. The worst thing about workplace cyberbullying is that there’s very little, that the organization can do about it.
Even the public forums, that are formed to fight against cyberbullying, provides a broader scope of harm for all the targets and even the organizations involved. Customer and patient complaints on these forums can also have a negative effect on the victim’s career.
Due to the compulsory use of electronic devices and the internet in jobs nowadays, the victims begin to feel trapped in ever going trauma.
Nurses have full responsibility to take care of their patients and provide any relevant information about their condition to their family members. In some cases when they receive any ill-treatment from the patient’s parents over the phone, they cannot just block the calls. Nurses have to endure all the workplace harassment and bullying because they have a responsibility towards their patients.
How Organisations Can Prevent Workplace Cyberbullying
In the long haul, cyberbullying can have severe negative effects on a person’s mental health. At a certain point, they are forced to leave their jobs.
The organizations are both legally and ethically responsible for the health and safety of there fellow employees. Most aren’t fully equipped to deal with it and very few have an applicable policy in place. This sends a message to the employees that they’re on their own.
There are however some measures that organizations can take to deal with these issues:
- Adopt a clear policy and a reporting channel to show your employees that the organization takes cyberbullying seriously. Implement YourSafeHub in your organization for reporting purposes. It is a special communication channel that protects your employees with the power of anonymity.
- Have a policy against cyberbullying from any sources outside the organization including, customers, clients, students, patients, etc.
- Having a policy in policy is no good if you are not prepared to take action. Take all cyberbullying cases seriously and support your employees through the process.
- Have a training program in place to educate your employees on how to deal with cyberbullying when it takes place.
- Take all complaints seriously, analyze and act right away, talk to all with the complaining employee, and document all your efforts – regardless of the position of those involved.
- Try to maintain discreetness, but ensure that employees know that some facts may need to be shared to thoroughly investigate and address the issues raised by the complaint.
- If the investigation proves the allegations, take immediate action to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
- Communicate with your staff about the organizational and human values you want to encourage in the workplace and express that harassment can severely sabotage these values.