About the author:If you would like to discuss Matt's post in more detail, please contact Matt at [email protected]
Facing up to the challenge of bullying and harassment
In today’s workplace, particularly with remote working becoming the ‘norm’, it’s never been more important to stay engaged with your colleagues and check-in with them to make sure they are ok. The need to engage with people is in our DNA, forming social groups and friends, talking, and sharing experiences all help us to manage the challenges we face in life but also at work.
But, unfortunately, there are times when some of us will face challenges from within. Bullying and harassment in workplaces would seem to be increasing across the world.
A US study revealed that 79% of working professionals have witnessed or experienced workplace bullying, with 49% saying that they don’t report it when they see it or experience it. In a recent UK survey, almost half of the women surveyed said that workplace sexual harassment was now taking place remotely. These statistics show how important it is for organisations in creating a safe environment for employees who experience bullying or harassment in the workplace to speak out.
The time to take action is right now
Organisations need to have in place policies that protect employees who fear challenging such behaviour, or fear repercussions if they dare to report it. Providing a confidential method of reporting is the first step to creating a psychologically safe environment for those experiencing bullying, sexual harassment, racial, disability and other discriminatory behaviours intended to undermine, disadvantage, and humiliate employees.
The next is to ensure that the complaints are taken seriously, that employees have the trust and faith that, when they do pick up the courage to report such behaviour, the organisation is committed to investigate it objectively and fairly.
Protecting your employees mental health
The mental health impacts of such behaviours, especially when they are experienced over prolonged periods of time, can be devastating. Supporting employees is key, listening to their experiences, supporting them through the mental anguish and emotions, and working together to resolve the issues can only be achieved by working together.
When such behaviours are found, then the organisation must act in order to demonstrate their commitment to creating a workplace free from bullying and harassment. Its time to speak out against such behaviour, to challenge and question it and raise its profile within organisations to create healthier, happier, and diverse workplaces for all.
In the words of the 1984 song by Tears for Fears, ‘Shout, Shout, let it all out; These are the things we can do without’.
If you’re concerned that issues of bullying and harassment may be having a negative impact within your organisation, we are here to help. We offer a range of services from bullying audits & neutral evaluations to formal bullying & harassment investigations. Contact us to discuss your specific needs.