November 15, 2008

Bullying: golden rules for employers

1. Policy

Implement a written anti-bullying and harassment policy. The policy should clearly set out what constitutes bullying and other forms of unacceptable behaviour and explain that disciplinary action will be taken against anyone found to have behaved in breach of the standards set out in the policy.

The policy should also contain guidance on what employees should do if they feel that they are being bullied. This will include formal means of resolution such as through the company grievance procedure. Also include other sources of support such as an internal helpline number, or external sources of advice such any of the bullying helplines that are available by telephone and online.

2. Training

Provide training to managers, or even to all levels of staff, about what constitutes bullying and how to deal with it. Managers in particular should be given the training and awareness to allow them to identify potential issues before they escalate into anything more serious, and tackle them in a way that is sensitive rather than inflammatory.

3. Culture

Promote a culture of dignity and respect within your organisation, where everyone is clear that bullying will not be tolerated and know what the company's approach is to complaints. One of the greatest barriers in dealing with bullying effectively is removing the culture where 'victims' are afraid to come forward, or managers are reluctant to interfere.

4. Monitoring

Use some form of monitoring tool to assess current opinions on the issue of bullying within your organisation, and allow information to be gathered on a confidential basis, e.g. staff surveys or some form of discussion forum (in person or on the company intranet).


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