Bullying in the workplace continues to plague employers. A recent Society for Human Resource Management survey found that 51 percent of organizations had received complaints of bullying by employees. The survey also found that bullying is more likely to occur in certain sectors than in others. More research will need to be done to explain why this is, but the study found that bullying is more probable to occur in government (71 percent) and private for-profit organizations (56 percent) and less likely in the non-profit sector (19 percent). The most common forms of bullying were verbal abuse (73 percent), malicious gossip and/or spreading lies/rumors (62 percent), and threats (50 percent). And, no one appears to be immune. Even one quarter of the HR professionals responding reported being subject to workplace bullying.
The survey found that the effects of workplace bullying on employees were significant. The most common results were decreased morale, increased stress and/or depression levels, decreased trust among co-workers, decreased productivity, and increased employee turnover.
Employers are advised to have a problem-solving guideline that all employees understand and that identifies to whom bullying incidents should be reported. And, employers should investigate all complaints and take appropriate corrective action.