The effects of bullying and harassment can be widespread, much further than only the victim and bully involved.
Bullying isn’t confined to school age children and teenagers – many adults discover their workplace to have similar or worse bullying issues as a school. A CareerBuilder survey on workplace bullying revealed that nearly a quarter of the workforce is dealing with it in their current positions.
Some kids graduate with the mindset that their victim days are behind them, only to find they’ve accepted a job in a workplace that tolerates or ignores bullying, rather than working to eradicate it. Painful memories can be brought up, causing physical stress in the form of high blood pressure, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD in some cases. Needless to say, this is not the kind of environment where employees can reach peak productivity and performance.
Bullying does not happen by accident.
It’s one person targeting another person through a pattern of mistreatment intended to cause them harm. Besides the affects on the victim being bullied, there are negative consequences that spread to the entire workplace and cause culture to deteriorate rapidly if this harassment is tolerated. Bystanders that witness bullying can experience guilt from doing nothing, or fear of stepping in and becoming the next victim.
Do business issues such as low employee engagement and high turnover affect your organization? Workplace bullying could play a part, and should continually be evaluated to ensure its not a factor.
Any sort of discrimination against protected classes is always illegal, but workplace bullying in a more general sense does not have federal laws prohibiting it. However, every workplace should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying and harassment, even when it isn’t technically considered illegal.
Bullying is recognized as unreasonable, pervasive, and severe behavior, and can happen between people at any level. Some examples are: manager to subordinate, co-worker to co-worker, or even customer to employee.
Employees need to understand and feel comfortable with their ability to report incidents of bullying, in order for an organization to uphold a zero tolerance policy. If employees feel that there will be any sort of retaliation or their concerns will be ignored, bullying prevention will be impossible and your organization’s ability to provide a safe and positive culture will be at risk.
Providing quality and continual training for employees on identifying and responding to bullying is a need in every organization. For a comprehensive look at how to eradicate workplace bullying in your organization and build a strong culture, check out BizLibrary’s “Stop Bullying in the Workplace” micro video series, geared towards both employees and managers.
Watch a preview of “Bullying 101: Employee Version” here: