Workplace bullying and harassment can negatively impact targets, witnesses, and even those who merely hear about it. Left unchecked, bullying and harassment can create a toxic and hostile work environment that can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and high turnover. Here are five ways to prevent workplace bullying and harassment.
1. Create a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying and harassment.
Workplace bullying and harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances. This policy should be clearly communicated to all employees. Additionally, employees should know that there are consequences for violating this policy, up to and including termination.
2. Educate your employees on what constitutes workplace bullying and harassment.
Your employees need to know what behaviour is considered workplace bullying and harassment. Conduct regular trainings on the topic so that employees know what behaviour is inappropriate and how to report it if they see it happening.
3. Encourage employees to speak up if they witness or if they are a target of workplace bullying and harassment.
Your employees should feel comfortable and safe coming forward if they witness or are targets of workplace bullying and harassment. Tell them that you take these reports seriously and will investigate them thoroughly. Additionally, assure them that they will not suffer retaliation for coming forward with a complaint. Create safe and trauma-informed spaces for employees to tell their story.
4. Investigate all complaints of workplace bullying and harassment promptly and thoroughly.
All complaints of workplace bullying and harassment must be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Be sure to interview all relevant parties involved in the incident, as well as any witnesses who may have seen or heard something related to the incident. Once the investigation is complete, take appropriate action based on the findings. In some cases, consider an external investigation.
5. Take action against perpetrators of workplace bullying and harassment.
If an employee is found to have perpetrated workplace bullying or harassment, then appropriate action must be taken against them up to and including termination. This will clearly signal that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in your workplace.
No one deserves to be the target of workplace bullying or harassment; it’s unacceptable behaviour that can have a lasting negative impact on individuals, teams, and even entire organizations. By taking steps to prevent it from happening in the first place, you can create a healthier, more productive work environment for everyone involved!