Workplace bullying cannot be completely eliminated in today’s work world. However, employers can take certain steps to protect its employees from such behaviors. This ultimately benefits the employer making the workplace more safe and productive. Based on our experience in working with employers, we have identified the following best practices in this area.
- Develop a workplace anti-bullying policy and disseminate it to all employees;
- The anti-bullying policy should establish expectations of appropriate behavior and the consequences for failing to comply with expected behaviors;
- Use written acknowledgement to document that employee read and understands policy;
- Develop a complaint handling and investigation procedure;
- Provide training, education and information on workplace bullying and employer’s anti-bullying policy and complaint procedure for all employees;
- Post anti-bullying policy and complaint procedure in a visible location in the workplace;
- Ensure that managers and supervisory personnel are aware of the responsibilities they have to respond to workplace bullying and complaints;
- Identify a contact person or bullying complaint manager within the workplace and provide training for that role;
- Evaluate and review effectiveness of anti-bullying policy and complaint procedures;
- Review workplace bullying reports and identify risks involved and trends.
Of course, the best practices and strategies for employers to minimize or control the risks relating to workplace bullying need to suit the specific size and structure of the workplace, as well as be realistic and achievable. Keep in mind these efforts should be designed to create long-term change within the workplace to prevent and control bullying, and not used as a quick fix for the problem.
Look for an upcoming article on Workplace Bullying – Part III discussing how employers should handle a bullying complaint and investigation.