What can you do to prevent workplace bullying?

What can you do to prevent workplace bullying?


According to workplace conflict resolution expert Saranne Segal,  bullying has increased in Australian workplaces since the start of the pandemic. It’s up to leaders to set the standard of behaviour in an organisation, exemplifying the values and conduct expected of all employees.

That all boils down to one salient fact: You can’t accept any kind of bullying within your organisation. It’s vital to empower everyone to take action to stamp out this kind of negative behaviour before it hurts individuals — or your business as a whole.

So what can you do on this front? We have some ideas:

Know what actually constitutes bullying

When you hear the word “bullying,” you may think that means name-calling and cruel pranks, but in the workplace it goes well beyond those parameters, according to the Crisis Prevention Institute. It can also include intentionally withholding needed information, repeatedly “forgetting” to invite someone to a meeting or altogether ignoring or excluding them. Everyone deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy.

You don't want anyone to feel unwelcome in your workplace.You don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in your workplace.

Look for red flags

Of course, when it comes to workplace bullying, the problems managers often face is that they “don’t know what they don’t know.” Some team members may not feel comfortable coming forward, and therefore the negative behaviour may only be known to a small number of people. However, there are some telltale signs that could let you know something is amiss, including high turnover within certain departments or among people dealing with specific individuals, or just increased absentee rates.

Obviously, if you begin to receive reports of more overt bullying, that’s a dead giveaway that you have a problem.

Improve communication for the entire organisation

As mentioned, bullying can certainly include withholding information, and as such you should have multiple methods that allow people to give and receive the information they need to get their jobs done. HR Daily Advisor noted that this includes clearly outlining anti-harassment policies and enforcing those rules uniformly for everyone from the mail room clerk to the CEO.

Invest in a culture of psychological safety

If part of the problem when it comes to even identifying a potential issue here is that people don’t feel comfortable talking to someone else about bullying, that’s a sign of something much bigger within your organisation. CIO pointed out that you want your workers to feel safe and confident that if they come to you, another manager or a coworker with something to report, the issue will be handled properly and expediently.

Ideally, this is about creating an environment where all employees feel free to share their ideas and work, without fear that their concerns will fall on deaf ears.

When you want to not only reduce workplace bullying on the whole, but also empower your employees to be more proactive about stepping in when they see it, the right training can go a long way. ICML’s course on psychological safety can help reduce the number of incidents your organisation experiences, and out Bystander Intervention course educates people on what to do when they see it.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can tailor our training courses to your unique needs.

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