Bullying of any form is a serious issue and should be addressed. It is considered a major risk factor for anxiety and depression.
In a workplace setting, bullying can result to serious mental and emotional issues among workers. Creating a mentally healthy workplace is important and Heads Up provide the following tips to help ensure a bully-free workplace.
- Learn to identify bullying. Workplace bullying has many forms, which may not be obvious. Hurtful remarks, verbal attacks, sexual harassment, excessive criticism, physical harassment are some examples of bullying that could happen in the workplace.
- Set a zero-tolerance approach. Develop a workplace bullying policy to help bullied workers lodge a complaint and have their complaints investigated. It is also important to establish a clear process in resolving disputes.
- Consult with your workers. Consistent dialogue with workers helps identify bullying behaviours within the workplace and will encourage them to have a say about on policies and procedures. Heads Up suggest having open meetings with staff, management meetings with health and safety representatives on behalf of staff, or anonymous feedback.
- Promote an open-door policy. Employees should be comfortable in approaching managers or HR to talk about bullying behaviours.
- Be an effective leader. Focus on developing a positive leadership by providing managers with training on effective communication with staff. Provide constructive feedback to staff, mentor poorly performing managers and ensure all supervisors respond to unreasonable behaviour at once.
- Identify signs of bullying. Someone bullied may be less socially active or confident; appear to be scared, stressed, anxious or depressed; be absent more often or less productive; display physical signs of stress such as headaches, backaches and not getting enough sleep.
- Seek the source. Bullying may occur via email, text message, social media and instant messaging, and face-to-face.
- Watch out for those most at risk. Some workers are more susceptible to bullying (casual workers, young workers including apprentices and trainees, new employees, injured workers and those on return-to-work plans, people who are part of a minority group because of ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexual identities.
- Scale back on stress. Coordinate with line managers and take steps ensure employees are able to manage workloads well.
- Review your success.
This article first appeared on ‘Safety Culture’ on 5 January 2015.