Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can take on different forms, and it is not always the most obvious actions that cause employees to feel bullied. A recent CareerBuilder survey asked questions about workforce bullying to more than 5,671 participants.

When asked to describe how they were bullied, respondents provided the following examples:

My comments were dismissed or not acknowledged (43 percent).
I was falsely accused of mistakes I didn’t make (40 percent).
I was harshly criticized (38 percent).
I was forced into doing work that really wasn’t my job (38 percent).
Different standards and policies were used for me than other workers (37 percent).
I was given mean looks (31 percent).
Others gossiped about me (27 percent).
My boss yelled at me in front of other co-workers (24 percent).
Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings (23 percent).
Someone else stole credit for my work (21 percent).

Since bullying can come in many forms, it is hard to pick one specific action to prevent it. But here are some tips that experts have found to be effective to prevent or lessen workplace bullying.

1. Create a supportive culture. Encourage open communication that involves both peers and leaders.

2. Introduce a specific, zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy to employees. Content for this policy is most important. It should cover the definition of what is considered bullying and what is not, as well as the consequences.

3.Incorporate staff from all levels to help develop your policy.

4.Include skills to identify and deal with bullying during management training.

5.Spread knowledge of both the definition of workplace bullying and your organization’s policy at all levels. Increasing awareness may also empower employees and encourage them to take a stand against bullying

6.Increase the perceived cost to the perpetrator. Make it clear there are serious consequences for their actions.

Taking these simple steps will help curb workplace bullying and make everybody’s work life more enjoyable.

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