How to Stop Workplace Bullying From Happening

Workplace bullying comes at a cost. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment. Bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence has no place in a professional work setting. When bullying is allowed to persist, it costs a business in productivity as well as carries serious reputational risks, impacts employee morale, and has other negative consequences.

Here is everything you need to know on how to stop workplace bullying:

1. Intervene

Intervening is one of most crucial ways on how to stop workplace bullying. It is a business’ legal obligation to interject into any workplace bullying and to ensure there are consequences. A failure to intervene can lead to reputational damage and legal costs if the victim decides to contact a lawyer.

Even if there are some questions as to how relevant an instance of bullying is, move quickly and handle it. The victim will appreciate the action and a business will avoid the very real potential of legal action.

2. Understand What Workplace Bullying Is

Some people may not even be aware they’re bullying or being bullied. Bullying can be as straightforward as a verbal assault or an act of physical aggression but it can also be an act of retaliation, intimidation, disrespect, discourtesy, or harassment.

These are all things to watch out for. They are each not necessarily handled with the same response, either. A workplace organization has to build out policies guiding the ideal action to take on each.

3. Encourage Anonymous Reporting

Some people do not want to come forward with allegations of bullying. They may see it as weak or improper. To combat this, set up a system wherein someone can submit an anonymous complaint.

Ensure in investigating any claims, you do not risk exposing the anonymity of the accuser. This way, you can gain a better understanding of if there’s bullying occurring and the nature of why it’s happening.

4. Launch An Investigation Into Any Reported Incident

We have all heard stories of workplaces that have ignored repeated accusations of bullying, harassment, and inappropriate conduct. Don’t let that be you. Into any reported incident of bullying, launch an investigation. Gather information. Judge it according to the evidence.

Consider acts of bullying or points in an accusation that are difficult to prove or not possible to prove. Be fair. If employees know they can come to you with an accusation and have it investigated thoroughly and properly, that will reinforce any anti-bullying policy you have in place.

5. Corporate Investigation Services

Corporate investigation services are premium intelligence gathering experts. A private investigator is skilled and experienced at these types of cases. They are knowledgeable about how to handle workplace bullying allegations and subsequently can investigate on your behalf.

This sort of handing of the responsibility to a third party that is more experienced with workplace bullying investigations. It can help ensure an efficient approach is taken and that a complaint is being thoroughly investigated in the correct way.

6. Speak to the Victim

A victim of bullying is at risk for anxiety and distress, physical illness, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, depression, deteriorating relationships with colleagues, and may have feelings of isolation.

You may also see them walk away from the job. This means a business has to factor in costs relating to hiring, onboarding, and lost productivity. If you’ve concluded bullying has occurred, have an open and honest conversation with the victim ensuring they are ok to continue.

7. Implement Anti-Bullying Employee Training

Train your employees in what is and isn’t respectful communication. Make them aware of expectations as they relate to interpersonal conduct. Employees should also know what the consequences are if they decide to ignore your anti-bullying policy.

Although a bully determined to bully will still likely bully, employee training will in part fulfill the obligation of an organization in the prevention of bullying as well as to educate everyone in how to recognize, prevent, and respond to any workplace incidents of buying.

8. Pay Attention to Workplace Dynamics

Ensure you’re keeping your ear to the ground when it comes to employee chatter and behaviour. A lot of instances of workplace bullying go unreported.

If you notice a sudden shift in an employee’s behaviour or have a general sense that something’s amiss amongst your team, awareness on your behalf can provide hints as to if there are unhealthy relationships at play.

9. Be Aware Of Your Own Actions

You and others in positions of authority set the tone. If a bully sees you treating an employee disrespectfully, they are going to think that’s ok as well. Whether they are aware of it or not, employees watch their bosses for cues.

Be respectful and professional at all times. If you are behaving in a way that could be construed as inappropriate, make a change.

10. Engage in Rapport-Building Team Activities

Factions can form in the workplace. This leads to exclusion, sometimes purposefully. Rapport-building activities can help minimize the bullying that goes on in the workplace by bringing forward new employees.

This allows them to meet and socialize with others, and bringing all employees together to hopefully build them up as a single unit. This is more of a long-term preventative than a way to treat existing workplace bullying.

Kelly Young is a writer born and raised in Toronto. Proud of her simple and cozy life, a perfect evening for Kelly would be to snuggle up in bed with her cat and a well-written historic memoir.