Written by Tim Martin, COO, WorkInConfidence
Policy: Have a clear, well set out, accessible, policy on bullying. Define what is bullying, how victims or witnesses should raise it and how it will be dealt with. Engage and involve staff in giving their input to this process.
Employees: Ensure that all your staff are aware of your policy, know where to find it and have read it. Add to staff handbook and include in your on-boarding process.
Communication: Clearly and unequivocally communicate expected behaviours to everyone. Make it clear there will be no exceptions. The “star performer” who is treated as an exception is the quickest way to undermine your policy, as is poor practice at senior management level.
Training: Train managers in how to create an environment where it is not tolerated, how to spot bullying when it does occur and how to tackle it.
Duty: Make sure senior managers are aware of their duty to call out bullying, or the sorts of practice which may lead to it. Set a good example and lead by it.
Feedback: Create and promote a culture of respectful feedback. Make these behaviours the norm in all your day to day actions and celebrate it. That way, poor practices will stand out far more obviously.
Pro-Active: Tackle things quickly. An early conversation if ever behaviours drift can be really effective, for the victim, the perpetrator and the organisation. A quick quiet word at the right time can stop escalation. Act on the wrong sorts of behaviours early in the day.
Culture: Be honest as an organisation and get your operations right. If senior management are not honest and realistic, then this may well end up with referred problems elsewhere. Nurture honesty, integrity, authenticity and realism as core values in your organisation.
Reporting: Ensure there are appropriate routes to report. Make sure the reporting and escalation process is very clear. There is a need for confidentiality and respect the right for the staff member to remain anonymous if desired.
Process: Ensure your grievance process is clear, fair (for all parties) and timely. Don’t let things get brushed under the carpet or linger on.
Integrity: No repercussions. Ensure that anyone raising a concern in good faith do not suffer reprisals or damage to their careers from having done so.
Measure: Check whether you are getting it right. Ensure that your staff surveys are carried out in a way which staff can trust and enables you to measure whether staff feel your organisation has a problem with bullying or is free from it.