What Companies Can Do
We know that bullying happens in schools — about 160,000 children miss school every day because they’re afraid of being attacked or intimidated by students who bully.
Bullying also occurs in the workplace, and the damage it does costs employers millions in employee sickness, absenteeism and lost work.
Bullying is repeated, persistent, aggressive, unreasonable behavior toward another person. Bullying behaviors include rudeness, intimidation, criticism, gossip, humiliation, exclusion from decision making, sabotage and social ostracism.
People who bully can be bosses, managers, co-workers, contractors — just about anyone. More than 80 percent of bullying behaviors come from bosses or managers: about 50 percent from males and 50 percent from females. However, 80 percent of the targets of bullying behavior are women.
Leaders and managers play a crucial role in identifying bullying behaviors and situations where someone is being bullied, and must use their authority to eliminate and prevent bullying behaviors.
Employers must realize that to ignore or discount bullying behaviors, they are risking employee productivity, loss of good workers and opening the door to workplace violence.
What Employers Can Do
Education and communication are crucial for the development of healthier companies. At the least, employers who want to prevent and reduce bullying in their workplaces must commit to implementing these goals:
- Require respect and professional behavior in all areas of the company. Begin by having leaders and managers be the role models of appropriate behaviors.
- Design and implement a workplace policy that identifies bullying behaviors and offers steps to reporting and resolution.
- Educate everyone — managers, supervisors, Human Resources personnel, union representatives and employees — about what bullying is and appropriate ways to respond.
- Treat all complaints seriously and deal with them promptly and confidentially.
- Contract with an Employee Assistance Program to help and support employees who have been bullied.
- Contract with a neutral third party to help with conflict and resolve issues.
Source: Margaret Dykinga, M.Ed., RN, Regional Manager, Holman Frazier Behavioral Health