Many articles regarding bullying focus on what to do when it happens. Of course we will cover that as part of our Workplace Bullying Series, but as they always say … prevention is better than cure … so this article looks at what prevention measures employers can put in place.
For organisations to provide a psychologically (as well as physically) safe working environment, they must:
- set clear expectations that apply to all members of the organisation;
- give life to workplace polices for addressing inappropriate behaviour; and
- continuously measure and respond to negative trends in employee engagement.
Setting clear behavioural expectations for all and providing pathways to address inappropriate behaviour demonstrates that all members of an organisation play a role in the prevention of workplace bullying.
Employers can demonstrate their commitment to preventing bullying by creating and implementing policies which:
- outline behavioural expectations for all internal stakeholders;
- promote a set of core values for the workplace;
- provide transparent procedures for addressing inappropriate behaviour; and
- establish consequences for a breach of the policy, holding all employees (even those in leadership positions) to account.
Employers should establish clear policies, but also ensure that they are adhered to and breaches of those policies are taken seriously. A Code of Conduct or Bullying and Harassment Policy will be ineffective in preventing bullying if they are never relied on and applied.
As part of your induction introduce all employees to the policies and make sure those policies are visible and reviewed regularly.
Other ways to prevent workplace bullying
Organisations should consider:
- what criteria they are applying for promotions (people skills are important)
- whether those in their leadership team would be able to identify bullying behaviour. If not, there are some great resources and courses that can upskill leaders in this area
- the investment are they making in helping leaders and managers develop a healthy management style
- whether there is an avenue to raise concerns that employees feel is independent and effective
The team at Black Door Law Limited are able to assist employers with creating or updating an organisation’s code of conduct and anti bullying and harassment policies.
Disclaimer: This information is intended as general legal information and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a specific issue and wish to discuss it, contact the Black Door Law team.
This article is part of a 6 part series on Workplace Bullying, our other articles in the series can be found in the following links: