Bullying can be a major problem in some workplaces. From catty gossip to more aggressive intimidation tactics, you may have noticed classic bullying tactics on the job. If bullying is a problem at work, you should take these four steps to combat the issue.
Establish an Anti-Bullying Policy
A no-tolerance anti-bullying policy can help create a safer work environment for everyone. A policy that clearly states your company’s stance against bullying will likely be the most effective. The policy should also spell out the consequences for staff members who violate the anti-bullying rules. Each employee should receive a copy of the policy and be required to sign it. You can also post a large copy of the policy on a wall or reader board so that everyone can review it regularly.
Confront the Person Directly
If a staff member is bullying you or one of your employees, your company should encourage you to confront the person directly in a tactful manner. Monster.com suggests pointing out the negative consequences caused by the person’s actions instead of just focusing on how the bullying makes you feel. You can highlight how the bullying makes it more difficult to accomplish work tasks or convey your ideas during meetings. Try to remain civil during your discussion to prevent making the matter worse. Having an honest discussion with the person may be enough to stop future incidents of bullying.
Consider Terminating Problematic Employees
Firing employees who are known to bully other coworkers may be the best option if they refuse to change their ways. If your company has a business insurance policy with a carrier like Marine Agency, you can review the consequences that your business could face if liability claims are made because of the bullying. You may have to terminate these employees yourself if you’re a supervisor or bring these matters to the attention of upper management who can make the decision. If your company faces liability claims because of these bullies, the insurance for employer liability will cover up to a certain dollar amount.
Documenting episodes of bullying will help you notice a pattern. If you notice that a pattern of bullying is occurring instead of just a few isolated instances, additional measures will need to be taken. It’s important to record the specific dates that the bullying occurred and what exactly happened during each incident. You can record episodes of bullying for yourself or one of your employees who may feel too intimidated to speak up about the problem. Having a record will make it easier for you to take measures against problematic employees.
There are many ways to stop bullying in the workplace from getting worse. By combating the problem early, you’ll have an easier time putting an end to the torment.
Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.