The Impact of Workplace Bullying on the Future of Your Company
At one point or another it’s likely that you’ve felt somewhat put down, humiliated or unwelcome, whether that’s online or in person. I know I certainly have, after an encounter with a Facebook friend a few years ago which resulted in a hairy exchange of words and led to me blocking someone for the first time ever.
As we all know, the world of social media is a powerful place. However, it seems people rarely stop to ask themselves whether they’d be inclined to say the very thing they’re so happy to write from behind a screen, to someone in person.
Which brings me to the recent blame game currently playing out across the news, following the distressing suicide of TV presenter Caroline Flack. Politicians have condemned the press for their intrusion, creating a vicious media circus and prompting many to sign a petition to introduce stricter safeguarding laws for those in the public eye.
Whilst this looks at the impact of social media and tabloid turmoil, it’s important to remember that these very same platforms effect people on a daily basis and that this harassment can also occur in the workplace. Bullying is complex subject, and one we grown-ups may think of as confined to the school playing fields, yet in reality workplace harassment is far more prevalent than you might expect.
In 2019 SME Loans conducted a survey which found that 23% of the British workforce has at some point been bullied at work, with 25% reporting they were made to feel left out. There’s many different forms of bullying, defined as ‘offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’ by Acas.
Workplace harassment and bullying can have a detrimental impact on employees in terms of their mental and physical wellbeing, their productivity and willingness to engage. It seems younger employees are particularly at risk of feeling left out at work. 31% of the 25-34 year olds studied feel left out at work.
It’s a difficult one to put your finger on, bullying can be subtle and can occur between employees outside of the workplace, for example on social media. Once rooted it can cause all manner of problems for your organisation;
- Impact on team wellbeing and morale
- Difficulty retaining staff or recruiting
- Damaging to company reputation
- Potential for legal action to be taken
It’s important to remain progressive, addressing these kinds of issues before they arise and understanding the impact they can have on your hardworking team.
Regardless of company size, you should look to put a formal policy in place which outlines examples of unacceptable behaviour, the disciplinary consequences of bullying and harassment and the steps you as an organisation will take to prevent this from happening.
If you’re a forward-thinking organisation and want to take the first step into promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, then get in touch here.