Any behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended at work could be classed as bullying or harassment. However, due to the ill-defined nature of bullying (there is no legal definition for the term), it can often be the case that only extreme forms of workplace violence get reported (e.g. physical attacks, verbal abuse, and threats). Managers might even dismiss accusations of bullying and harassment as simple personality-clashes or someone's robust management 'style', but this attitude severely undermines the damaging effects bullying and harassment can have on the workforce – even in organisations which have implemented anti-bullying policies.
Sadly, it appears that bullying is on the rise in Britain's workplaces; Acas recently released a report stating they receive around 20,000 calls each year relating to bullying and harassment at work, with some callers even contemplating suicide and many reporting that the experience of being bullied has caused them to develop health issues such as anxiety and depression. Acas' report also highlights areas where bullying seems to be more prevalent, e.g. for women working in male-dominated environments, LGBT workers, and for public sector and health-care workers.
Bullying is repeatedly named as a top-five workplace hazard in polls, which begs the question: why aren't anti-bullying policies working? We know such policies are widespread in Britain's workplaces – they are widely recommended by Acas both as an educational tool and as a deterrent for those who would commit workplace abuse – but it remains that simply having a policy isn't enough.
It's up to top level management to model and promote a culture of shared responsibility, one in which employees are empowered to report unacceptable behaviour, and feel safe in the knowledge that it will be swiftly and appropriately dealt with. It's also important to outline what constitutes workplace bullying and harassment, to show examples (particularly of more subtle instances of bullying/harassment), and allow employees to explore bullying scenarios and grey-areas in a safe environment. After all, simply putting something in writing will not change peoples' behaviour if they lack a full understanding of what it means and how it can affect the people we work with.
So, how can DeltaNet International help?
We offer a number of eLearning courses that are designed to educate members of staff and help prevent abusive behaviour in the workplace. Useful as induction tools as well as refresher training for your employees, our courses employ a number of learning techniques and devices to ensure staff stay motivated, engaged, and retentive to the key learning objectives of each module.
What courses do you offer in this area?
Introduction to Equality and Diversity - familiarise your employees with equality and diversity principles, and encourage a fair, honest, and respectful workplace.
Manager's Guide to Equality and Diversity – Lead by example with this course especially designed for managers. Learn about your responsibilities when it comes to equality and diversity legislation and how to implement principles of equality and diversity in your day-to-day working practices.
Violence and Aggression - Approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) this course focuses on nurturing a safe and happy work-place, and takes a closer look at how employees can avoid violence and aggression in the workplace and protect themselves should it occur.
Code of Conduct – Equip your employees with a common framework and set of values from which they can work. A code of conduct is a reference point for members of staff, it guides behaviour and helps explain away any grey-areas they may encounter during their time with the organisation.
Additionally, we offer a range of online compliance and health and safety training courses covering a variety of important topics. All our training is developed in collaboration with subject experts and accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. To view the complete collection, please click here.