To the outsider, workplace bullying can sometimes be hard to spot – intimidation and social isolation are not always immediately obvious to management.
However, it is important to nip these behaviours in the bud as they can create a toxic workplace, affecting individual employees' health, safety, wellbeing and careers.
Plus, learning about this behaviour early on is one way to ensure it does not escalate to the point where it becomes impossible to repair relationships.
What is workplace bullying?
Safework Australia defines this as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker that creates a health and safety risk.
Unreasonable behaviour involves those actions that would not generally be taken by a reasonable person aware of all the circumstances at play. This can refer to victimising, threatening, intimidating or humiliating behaviour.
Who is affected?
This kind of behaviour can affect anyone in the workplace, and can even be directed from clients, students, customers and other members of the public.
How can you prevent this from occurring in your workplace?
There are a few steps you can take to prevent the bullies taking over your workplace, such as setting a standard for workplace behaviour and designing a safe system of work.
Ensure all members of staff are aware of the code of conduct outlining what is and what is not appropriate behaviour. Then communicate to staff what will happen if someone is found circumventing these requirements.
If staff are aware of their roles and the responsibilities of others in the office, the lines are less likely to blur, which can help to decrease bullying.
Regularly checking up on employees' wellbeing by undertaking staff satisfaction surveys may indicate if there are any lingering issues. One -two high level bullying questions can be integrated into a wider company survey to assess if there is an issue that requires further investigation.
Some staff will be more prepared to comment on bullying online, as this can be less confrontational than bringing it up in person with their manager.
PeoplePulse also offers a dedicated Pulse Survey devoted to uncovering the extent of bullying in your workforce, where it is happening, and who is being impacted.
Give PeoplePulse's custom-based free demonstration a try and learn how we might be able to assist you to capture and act on staff feedback.