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There is already a wealth of information on the topic of bullying in the workplace – what it is, how to handle it etc. The tone is bleak in the sense that it seems victims are normally not empowered to stop it. In many cases, targets of bullying are left with little choice but to leave their jobs, if they haven’t already been forced out, often with shattered confidence. Some articles even advise the target to avoid seeking assistance from Human Resources, as they work for the company and will often side with, or are equally scared of, the bully. In some sources, it is even recommended that in family run businesses the employee should rather just opt to leave, as they will not be able to take the bully to task. Why do employees feel they cannot turn to their bosses, and when they do, why are they not being protected? Some possible reasons for this are:
Bullying and the bottom line
Bullying in the workplace is a very serious problem that should never be ignored or taken lightly. The Workplace Bullying Institute maintains that, “Being bullied at work closely resembles the experience of being a battered spouse. The abuser inflicts pain when and where she or he chooses, keeping the target (victim) off balance knowing that violence can happen on a whim, but dangling the hope that safety is possible during a period of peace of unknown duration. The target is kept close to the abuser by the nature of the relationship between them – husband to wife or boss to subordinate or co-worker to co-worker.”
The experience of being bullied at work often leads to poor psychological and physical health for the target, which ultimately negatively impacts the employee’s productivity.
If for no other reason, employers should be concerned about bullying for the negative impact it has on the company’s success and profitability. Staff turnover, training new staff members, absenteeism, increased risk of workplace accidents, tarnished corporate image, poor customer service and ultimately law suits and disciplinary hearings all impact on the company’s bottom line.
Prevention is better than cure
When it comes to bullying, it is far better to prevent this type of behaviour than to deal with it once it occurs. Implementing anti-bullying policies at work and creating the correct climate can go a long way in controlling this type of behaviour:
An anti-bullying policy should:
Create an anti-bullying climate
For some useful information on bullying and how to handle it visit: https://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/amibeing.htm