Think Workplace Bullying Doesn’t Exist?
The truth is, 51% of organizations reported incidents of bullying in their workplace, according to a recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM defines workplace bullying as persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behavior or unfair actions directed at another individual, causing the recipient to feel threatened, abused, humiliated or vulnerable. Workplace bullies and targets may be employees, clients or vendors of the affected organization.
The most common types of bullying reported were verbal abuse, malicious gossiping, and threats or intimidation. The most alarming statistic is that 44% of organizations say they have no plans for putting a workplace bullying policy in place. How does this affect your organization? Well, 68% report complaints of decreased morale, as well as additional reports of:
- Increased stress and depression
- Decreased trust among co-workers
- Decreased productivity
- Increased turnover
- Decreased trust in management
- Increased absenteeism
If not properly addressed, all of these issues can lead to adverse effects on your company’s bottom line. We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that bullying can often cross into sexual harassment territory where the average discrimination claim is $292,000.
What can you do to beat the statistics and combat workplace bullying? For starters, create a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy which outlines clear steps for reporting incidents. Next, determine how incidents will be handled. Not all incidents are as severe as others, so it is important to consider creating multiple levels of intervention to handle everything from the one-time occurrence to the repeat offenses. Finally….ENFORCE! An anti-bullying policy has no value if it is not enforced consistently.