Workplace bullying has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years as the spotlight on mental health awareness continues to shine.
While what can be considered bullying is sometimes a grey area, Fair Work defines bullying as “unreasonable and repeated behaviour directed at an individual or group of people. It can be written or verbal and includes humiliation, abuse, spreading rumours or gossip.”
Given the serious workplace health and safety implications surrounding bullying, it is imperative that employers implement preventative measures to ensure a bully-free workplace. While there are several initiatives available, here are three easy steps that Carbon Group use to promote a bully-free workplace:
1. Clear Anti-Bullying Policy
Every workplace should have a clear and structured Anti-Bullying policy that includes an explanation of what is and isn’t considered bullying and a procedure for employees to follow if they believe they are a victim of bullying. Further, it is important for all employees to be familiar with the policy and for them to access it with ease. Carbon Group also circulates the policy each time changes or additions are made to ensure employees are familiar with the latest version.
2. Respectful Culture
Culture is driven in the workplace from the top down, whether we would like to admit it or not. How management conduct themselves has a flow on effect and dictates the tone of the whole workplace. Therefore, it is imperative that leaders conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner and advocate a bully-free workplace.
3. Swift Response
If a bullying claim is lodged, it is essential that management and HR address the issue in a timely and procedurally fair manner. Letting the issue continue to linger will often lead to the issue worsening and the victim feeling isolated and unsupported by management. As a guide, Carbon Group begins investigating bullying claims immediately once they are reported.
Bullying not only impacts the victim but also the organisation as whole, therefore it is in the employer’s best interest to identify signs of bullying within the workplace early on and to take any reports of bullying seriously. The consequences of ‘sweeping the issue under the rug’ are higher than that of taking the time to thoroughly and equitably investigate a claim.
For further information on what constitutes bullying and what employee entitlements are, visit the Fair Work website.