October 3 is World Day of Bullying Prevention Day. On this day we raise awareness of bullying, not only for children at schools, but also in the workplace.

Workplace bullying can cause emotional and physical damage to employees. Employees may feel inadequate or a sense of low self-esteem, which can lead to anxiety, depression, hypertension or migraine headaches.

Bullying can also cause financial distress if a victim makes a legal claim against the bully or your company. Financial damage can also arise if you need to send a victim to counseling or send your employees to classes for anger management, leadership training or sensitivity training to encourage a bullying-free workplace.

The effects of bullying in the workplace can cost you a lot more than just legal fees or employee counseling.

Decreased Productivity

Bullying directly affects a victim’s self-confidence, which can be very distracting and debilitating especially for productivity.

Increased Absenteeism

A bullied employee may go to great lengths to avoid a high-stress situation at work. Calling in sick or using a large amount of paid time off at once are common tactics used to avoid a bully.

Other employees may have to make up the extra work, possibly resulting in overtime, complaints or even more bullying behavior. An excessive number of lost working days benefits no one.

High Employee Turnover

A 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that for 25 percent of respondents, the best solution to stop bullying was to quit their jobs. 19 percent of the respondents felt forced to quit when circumstances were made deliberately worse.

Workplace bullying also causes a decline in morale for employees who are not victims of bullying. These employees may be less likely to interact with others in fear of being bullied themselves, and this may create a hostile or uncomfortable work environment. This could cause the workplace to have higher turnover rates as employees throughout the company suffer the effects of an unhappy work environment.

Negative Impact on Company’s Reputation

Victims of bullying are likely to talk to friends or family about what is going on and how they feel about it. This information can spread quickly and sour your company’s public image.

A poor public image is especially destructive to a company that depends on the public for patronage, such as a restaurant or a landscaping company. A negative image can also deter job seekers from applying to your company, making it more difficult to recruit new employees.

Bullying Prevention

You can control the risk of bullying in your workplace by following these tips:

  • Develop a workplace bullying policy and follow it. Use clear language to define what behavior your company considers to be bullying:
    • Include information on how to report bullying.
    • Document, investigate and follow up on every report of bullying.
    • Make it clear that employees will not be retaliated against for reporting bullying.
  • Establish expectations of appropriate behavior and the consequences for employees who fail to comply with those expectations.
  • Provide training, education, information and awareness on workplace bullying for all employees.
  • Provide clear job descriptions that include an outline of the specific roles and responsibilities for each position within the workplace.

We Can Help

Vanner Insurance Agency is your resource for handling workplace bullying and minimizing the effects it can have on your business. Contact us today at 716-688-8888 to learn more.