How to Prevent Bullying in the Workplace

Workplace bullying can lead to workers’ compensation claims that can decrease productivity and lead to expensive litigation. Workplace bullying can not only be seriously detrimental to an employee’s mental health and self-esteem, but it can also cost employers thousands of dollars. Sick days, decreased performance, high-levels of stress, and workers’ compensation claims can have a severe impact on the bottom line of businesses.

There are actions that employers can take to prevent bullying in the workplace:

Create a Bullying Policy

This policy should clearly define what is classed as bullying behavior, the responsibilities of employer and employee, and the ways that bullying will be dealt with within the workplace. All policies should be maintained and updated as frequently as possible.

Train Managers to Identify Bullying Behavior

Give all managers the skills and tools to conduct difficult conversations addressing bullying behavior. Single incidents that involve unreasonable behavior are not generally considered workplace bullying, but they can escalate, and should never be ignored.

Talk to Employees

We recommend that employers should proactively communicate expected standards of behavior. By creating time to hold open dialogues with staff, you can identify and discuss potential areas of concern amongst your employees.

Provide Regular Employee Feedback

It’s a manager’s responsibility to monitor workflow and offer feedback that will help employees improve their performance. By implementing respectful, high quality, and frequent performance feedback, you can prevent instances in which performance management is perceived as bullying.

Clearly Define Employee’s Roles

Uncertainty and conflict regarding individual roles can lead to bullying behaviors because of the stress it can place on employees. To minimize the risk of a difference of opinion, make sure that all employees clearly understand their roles and have the skills, training, and equipment to carry them out efficiently.

Identify and Explain Your Workplace’s Definition of Bullying Behaviors

For example, make it clear from the outset that no sexist, racist, homophobic, or discriminatory jokes will be tolerated in the workplace. Try to model and identify the exact behaviors that you wish to see in your team. This will help you to create a working atmosphere and culture that is based on mutual respect, ultimately making the work environment a safe place for staff.

For more information regarding workers’ compensation and your rights when it comes to bullying in the workplace, contact us today.