How to Identify and Manage Workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying complaints are pretty frequent. According to a study, around 48.6 million Americans are bullied in their workplace, which is alarming.
Bullying not only creates a tense environment in the workplace but also affects employees’ mental health, resulting in less productivity and other issues. So, to ensure your workplace is healthy and welcoming for everyone, you should have proper knowledge about bullying in the workplace, its types, and ways to diagnose and eliminate it. Let’s discuss these things in detail!
What is Workplace Bullying, and Why Should We Care?
It’s the consistent harmful behaviour or mistreatment of other people at the workplace. This bullying can be in any form: verbal, non-verbal, physical, or emotional. It can be initiated by a person or group of people who want the targeted person to feel low and cause emotional distress.
Typical examples of workplace bullying are given:
- Misleading anyone about official duties purposely.
- Cracking jokes on someone’s appearance and personal life.
- Inattentiveness towards an employee’s requests without quoting any specific reason.
- Humiliation in front of other teammates or colleagues.
- Threatening and verbal harassment.
- Unjustified criticism.
Bullying at work isn’t only from one employee to another; instead, improper behaviour from managers and bosses is the primary reason behind workplace bullying. According to a study, around 61% of bosses cause workplace bullying, and 65% of people leave their jobs due to repeated mistreatment. This not only results in a toxic workplace, but the business also loses a dedicated employee.
Why it’s Important to Care for Workplace Bullying?
As mentioned earlier, bullying in the workplace is harmful not only to the employee but to the whole management and damages the workplace’s reputation. The productivity of the target employee decreases, which may result in the slow progress of all the projects they handle. Moreover, workplace bullying also gives rise to any possible unfortunate incident, lowers the overall morale of the working team, and sometimes leads to poor customer service.
All these issues negatively impact your business, its work turnaround, and its relationships with customers. So, to make sure your business never faces workplace bullying, it’s essential to take proper measures like motivating and discussing everything with employees, not promoting favouritism, making healthy and safe workplace a priority, and much more. Once you do this, you will eventually see your business growing and everyone giving their best with full dedication.
5 Types of Workplace Bullying
To stop bullying at work, it’s important to know all types of workplace bullying and take preventive measures accordingly. Here are the most common types of bullying in the workplace that creates a risk to health and safety:
1. Physical Bullying
Physical bullying generally means hurting the employee’s body or property using power to intimidate them. It’s among the most common types of bullying in the workplace and is termed assault. Examples of physical bullying include punching, slapping, or physical abuse. Moreover, sexual harassment, tampering with, or damaging someone’s priority also falls under physical bullying.
Many people believe that bullying at work was significantly reduced during COVID and the previous COVID phase because almost all employees worked remotely. However, this isn’t true, as cyberbullying is the next big hurdle for corporations. Colleagues or teammates sharing disgraceful content or doing any cloud-based harm to employees is known as cyber workplace bullying.
Here are some common examples of cyberbullying at work:
- Sharing or publishing false news about an individual or a group of people on social media platforms.
- Sending direct harassment emails and messages to the targeted person.
- Making fun of someone in workplace groups and platforms by sharing disgraceful or humiliating content.
3. Psychological Bullying
Most workplace bullying is psychological, and it is one of the most ignored types of bullying at work. People often pass disrespectful comments that worsen the victim’s mental health without realising the consequences. This type of bullying in the workplace doesn’t leave behind any proof like bruises or property damage but severely affects the emotional health of the person getting bullied.
Moreover, psychological and verbal abuse also make the victim suicidal. The most common examples of this type of workplace bullying are calling names, demeaning someone, shouting, swearing, unjust criticism, and much more.
4. Gesture Bullying
Gesture bullying refers to making inappropriate gestures or signs when someone shows up. This makes the targeted person very sceptical, and they end up being confused and threatened. The most common examples of gesture bullying are looking at someone with a threatening stare or making inappropriate hand signs to abuse or humiliate someone, etc.
5. Exclusion Bullying
Another type of workplace bullying is exclusion bullying, where other employees purposely separate an individual from all the organisational plans. This bullying at work makes the other person feel left out and alone in the workplace, decreasing their interest in the job. Common examples of exclusion workplace bullying are not inviting the victim to a business party, leaving them alone during lunchtime, etc.
5 Ways to Deal with Bullying at Work
Taking appropriate steps to tackle bullying in the workplace is essential. So, to help you in this regard, we’ve listed the top tips or ways that allow you to deal with bullying at work:
1. Properly Research Your Company’s Policy
If you are a victim of bullying at work, then you should definitely research your company’s policy and check whether there’s something related to bullying mentioned in it or not. Most companies have rigorous policies against any type of bullying in the workplace and have proper guidelines for reporting such activities to the authorities. However, if the company has no workplace bullying policies, it’s best to contact HR or senior management immediately and protect yourself or the person being bullied from abuse.
2. Record or Save Everything
You can’t file complaints about discrimination unless you have proper proof to show. So, it’s crucial to keep a record of everything, from the date and time of being bullied to the forms and results of workplace bullying. Following are the things that you should save if there’s any bullying or mistreatment at work:
- The person or group maltreating you.
- Name and date of bullying and if it’s a one-time incident or not.
- How do you feel about the situation?
- People who witnessed the bullying and whether someone is up to back you.
- What they are saying and doing.
- Emails and messages if it was cyberbullying.
Having all these things saved makes your case look stronger and gives you an upper hand in the whole situation.
3. Address the Bully Directly
People always prefer a way with the least resistance and hurdles, so to eliminate workplace bullying, you should address the bully directly. However, while doing so, make sure your voice is composed and you aren’t confused. Adopt a professional manner and calmly tell them how their behaviour affects you. You can use phrases like:
- “Please don’t talk to me in this way.”
- “Kindly avoid sending me humiliating posts.”
- “We can discuss this later.”
The phrase you select also depends upon the type of bullying in the workplace you are facing. Direct communication can let the bullies know that you are tired of their remarks and actions, and if they don’t stop, there will be consequences.
4. Discuss It with the HR or Higher Management
If you don’t want to engage with the bully directly, try to discuss the situation with the company’s higher management or HR. Simply tell them everything that has been going around and the type of bullying you face at work, along with proof. While telling everything to them, focus more on the professional part about how this bullying behaviour affects your overall productivity, morale, and emotional health. This will definitely help you get rid of workplace bullying without having to deal with the bully yourself.
5. Consult with a Lawyer
In case all the ways mentioned above fail to provide you with justice or any resolution, consulting with an attorney is the next best option. You can show all the recorded things to the lawyer and explore your legal options against the bully. This process takes time but offers promising results and empowers other workplace employees to speak out against bullying at work.
As a business owner, organising anti-discrimination and occupational health programs at work also helps eliminate all workplace bullies.
What to Do if You See Someone Else Being Bullied at Work?
Whenever you see someone getting bullied at work, speaking up for them is suggested, as staying silent makes you a bully too. There are several ways to deal with the bully: you can support the targeted person by interrupting the bully and telling them how their actions are making others uncomfortable too.
Moreover, ask other employees to join your force and support the victim, so no workplace bullying happens. If the bully is at a senior level, you can discuss the subject separately with them to make things easy for the victim. Doing this brings harmony and warmth among employees, which gives more pleasing results to the business.
Workplace bullying causes workplace disputes, poor customer service, less productivity, etc. So, as a business owner or an employee, it’s essential for you to have proper knowledge about bullying at work to make employee feel safe and keep the workplace welcoming. However, if you are unable to manage everything manually, EmployeeConnect has the best solution! We have excellent cloud-based business software that is highly secure and specifically designed to keep your workplace well-engaged and a safe place for learning.
Our products help HR and managers streamline employees’ work journeys and keep everything in check from their first day until now. With our software, you can share weekly work charts, monitor the work performance of employees, and keep active communication with them, which is the key to solving workplace bullying and business issues. So, don’t wait and get your business-compatible HR software from us now!