The price organization pays for hostile Workplace.
Workplace bullying is not a dirty secret anymore. A survey conducted by a job portal CareerBuilder showed a staggering 55% Indian workers that has accepted to being bullied at workplace.
It costs organizations time and productivity loss as target employees are preoccupied with negative emotions. Companies have to deal with growing absenteeism owing to stress for being bullied, loss of skill & experience when the worker quits as they are unable to handle the stress and loss of time spent in replacing & training a resource.
As for the employee, it can devastate an individual’s career, his/ her mental, physical & psychological well-being, not to forget the harm caused to the company’s reputation.
Signs of Bullying
You know you are being bullied when you are subjected to constant criticism, there is lack of support, you are often singled out or treated differently from others, ostracized from team lunches, team discussions, subjected to isolation, denied information or exposed to mockery in the garb of friendly banter or given unrealistic goals. You will notice that colleagues who used to discuss & spend time with you, have suddenly started avoiding you.
Persona of the Target & The Hyena
Understand that bullying is a power game.
Targets are often skilled workers, popular in the organization for being intelligent, creative, & hard working.
They are ethical & honest, maybe assertive or introverts at times which makes them seem vulnerable.
Bullies want to be in control to mask their incompetence as you pose a threat to their status & popularity.
They might be suffering from stress related issues, may be a fault finder by nature and are often dishonest.
There could be a possibility that they might be merely passing on what they are receiving.
The Effects of being Bullied
To begin with, it causes mental & physical trauma for the target.
The employee will show signs of stress, become fearful & anxious. They may end up losing their self -confidence and may not be able to stay focused thus ending up being demotivated.
Measures to tackle Bullying at workplace
As a golden rule, never over share information related to your personal life, your past jobs as these will be used against you when the time comes.
Accept that you are being bullied and raise your voice. Do not suck up to a bully as it will open doors to further bullying.
Be privy of the fact that sometimes confronting a bully aggravates the situation.
Reach out to HR. Do not get emotional at any point of time. Stay objective throughout your discussions. You need to be specific and document every detailed information to substantiate your claims.
Determine what you want. Unfair as it may sound but sometimes it’s not worth the fight emotionally & financially, so be prepared to look for a change.
Keep yourself calm at all situations.
Practice Mindfulness by meditating, regular breathing exercises & sound therapy to keep your mind healthy & positive.
Role of HR to stop Workplace Bullying
HR is the bridge between the employees and the organization. Be empathetic while addressing the grievance of the complainant. Understand that the target must have been intimidated & have waited long before reaching out for help.
Be responsive, define a process to conduct a neutral investigation & address the issue.
Be committed to create a zero-tolerance culture that discourages & pulls up corporate hyenas.
HR should watch signs of stress across organizations, identify potential bullies, document unacceptable behavior, hold bullies accountable & subject them to correctional coaching.
Protecting a bully who maybe a star performer may not be a good strategy in building a healthy workplace.
Raise awareness about outcomes of workplace bullying through newsletter & anonymous surveys.