What is the Best Approach to Preventing Workplace Bullying?

According to Stats NZ, “Around 300,000 employed people, or 11 percent of workers, said they had experienced discrimination, harassment, or bullying in the past 12 months” (Stats NZ).

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unacceptable behaviour directed towards a worker/group of workers. Different forms of bullying include, but are not limited to, verbal or physical abuse, humiliation, threats of violence and sabotaging or ignoring others (Employment NZ).

It is also important to note that workplace bullying and unacceptable behaviour:

  • isn’t limited to managers targeting staff or staff targeting managers
  • can also happen between co-workers, and between workers and other people at workplaces such as clients, customers or visitors
  • can be carried out by one or more persons
  • can be directed at a single person or a group
  • may occur outside normal working hours.

Employee health and wellbeing is contingent upon eliminating bullying from the workplace. It is crucial that employers understand the physical and psychological harm bullying causes. This not only affects an individual’s performance at work but also the health and performance of the organisation as a whole.

So what are some ways to tackle workplace bullying?

There are various pathways to address bullying and unacceptable behaviour, this includes:

  • Creating a more positive and inclusive work culture through effective leadership. A workplace that encourages, respects and supports one another will help minimise the likelihood of bullying.
  • Implementing effective policies that are communicated clearly to employees. Additionally, the topic of bullying should be openly discussed in the workplace.
  • Educating your workers and managers about bullying by offering training or workshops. This will ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities in relation to bullying.
  • Ensuring your employees know how to formally report bullying and unreasonable behaviour. Moreover, ensure that you have the right resources and processes in place for them to do so.

For a deeper understanding of how to minimise the likelihood of workplace bullying, check out WorkSafe NZ’s guide to Preventing and Responding to Bullying at Work.

Moreover, talk to our team at Working Wise about how we can help you combat bullying and unacceptable behaviour in your workplace. We can work alongside you to develop policies as well as conduct engaging workshops to educate managers and workers, helping to build a more positive workplace culture.

Our online health and safety system, GOSH, also provides workers with a tool to informally/formally report acts of bullying and unacceptable behaviour. The process is fully confidential, meaning workers can confidently submit reports anytime, anywhere.

Fill out our online contact form or give us a call on (04) 499 0710 for more information!

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