HR’s Role in Making the Workplace a Bully-Free Zone

HR's Role in Making the Workplace a Bully-Free Zone

Bullying. A term you might have come across often when you were in school. If you did not, then probably you were the bully. It’s wrong to assume that bullies are limited to your school that you left long ago. No, you’ll also find bullies at your workplace. It is quite unfortunate to see that some people have not been able to grow up.

The most obvious effect will be that it will lower the spirits of the employees. Maybe you were looking forward to working for a certain company, but now you won’t be able to enjoy your experience because of that one person in your office.

Bullying that takes place in the workplace is more serious than you’d actually imagine. This could be a toxic boss giving you an earful and singling out the blame on you for a mistake or a bunch of office clowns repeatedly targeting the same person for their pathetic pranks.

Here are some common examples of workplace bullying that takes place

  • Make a sneering gesture at someone
  • Ignore someone or their viewpoints
  • Blaming someone repeatedly
  • Isolating someone on a social level and treat them indifferent
  • Making someone a target for their unnecessary jokes.
  • Disseminating incorrect information about someone, basically spreading rumours
  • Yelling at someone
  • Telling someone they need to quit
  • Embarrassing someone in front of their peers

How this Impacts Employee

The most obvious effect will be that it will lower the spirits of the employees. Maybe you were looking forward to working for a certain company, but now you won’t be able to enjoy your experience because of that one person in your office.

An unpleasant environment as such will affect employees mentally and, in most cases, also their work. According to research, people who are bullied experience stress, low self-esteem, poor physical and emotional health, and impaired cognitive functioning.

Some employees do not raise their voice in fear or for other reasons and are left unheard. This way some really good employees may leave the company with an overall negative perspective.

Ways in which HR can curb bullying

By establishing a clear code of behaviour

To be able to avoid workplace bullying, HR must set clear expectations on how employees need to behave with one another. This is one simple way. If a strong set of values are set for the company, these values will permeate through and influence how employees treat one another. Senior employees should also set example by strongly holding these values and by maintaining good, healthy and professional relations with their coworkers

By addressing the root of the problem

And if the above code is broken, HR must take care of it seriously and reach to the depth of it. It is important to understand why the bully is behaving as such in order to prevent bullying from taking place and to also help the bully face his/her own demons. It is explained by psychologists that the behavior of a bully is a reaction to their own levels of low self-esteem. They attack other people to feel better and outset their own struggles with life. Sometimes, talking to this people to open up about their vulnerabilities can help change their toxic behavior.

By acting fast

The most effective way to avoid bullying in the workplace is to address it when you see even a hint of it. Employees need to be encouraged to report if they see someone behaving inappropriately or any other first-hand signs of bullying. This should be enough evidence for them to address the situation immediately. If HR can stop this during its initial stage, they can resolve the issue from going out of control and save any potential victims.

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