Contrary to earlier data, recent studies indicate that workplace bullying transcends job title, educational level, industry sector, and other demographics. Careerbuilder.com surveyed 3,372 employees across a variety of industries and levels within organizations with surprising results:
- Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported experiencing bullying on the job
- Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) reported leaving a job because of bullying
- Twenty-seven percent of management-level employees feel they are currently being bullied, where as 21 percent of professional and technical level employees and 26 percent of entry level/administrative employees feel they are being bullied
- Forty-four percent of public sector employees reported experiencing workplace bullying as compared to 28 percent of private sector respondents
What does bullying look like? It depends. While there is no standard definition, it has been said that, “You know it when you see it.” This “gray” area creates quite the conundrum for employees, HR professionals, and business leaders trying to get a handle on the issue. Bullying can range from a pattern of unprofessional behavior contrary to the company’s values and standards of conduct to a lack of consideration or respect, gossiping, sniping, trading insults, and even harassment, abuse, or worse. The reality is bullying and other forms of unchecked inappropriate behavior can be damaging to the employee, the team, and the organization as a whole.
What to do about it?
- Establish a clear set of conduct expectations for all employees from their first day on the job and ensure these are reflected in the organizational culture and behavior of all, from top to bottom of the organization. Accountability for acting within those expectations for employees at all levels should go without saying, but it is indeed worth saying anyway.
- Confirm that employees know about and feel safe using the organization’s internal conflict resolution and complaint procedures. This ensures concerns can be raised and resolved fairly, equitably and without fear of reprisal.
- Train employees and managers on productive problem resolution skills. This way, when issues arise, employees already have a basis of support to draw upon from the policies to procedures for seeking resolution and the skills to support them in getting the matter resolved successfully.
If this is an area of concern for your organization, contact MSEC and together let’s brainstorm ways to address this matter. Your membership includes access to a host of resources and solutions to help you provide a safe and productive workplace for all.