Meeting The Issue of Abusive Conduct and Bullying Head-On
In today’s workplace, having a culture of respect and inclusivity is not just a goal that’s nice to have. It’s an absolute imperative. Unfortunately, abusive conduct and bullying can be difficult to root out. In turn, it can cause significant impacts on individuals and organizations alike.
Today, we'll take a look at just how crucial it is to help your organization move forward beyond these challenges to create a more inclusive environment that your employees will want to be part of … and one in which they can thrive.
How Much Does It Matter?
Sometimes, when we face an issue like abusive conduct and bullying that have long been so integrally part of human behavior, the idea of working to remove it from our work interactions can seem, in some ways, to be impractical. But it is possible to combat it … and the process of demonstrating that it won’t be tolerated sets a powerful example.
Abusive conduct and bullying can manifest in various ways, from verbal abuse and humiliation to exclusion and sabotage. Let’s take a look at the consequences of this type of behavior on your team.
Adverse Effects on Mental Health
Those who experience bullying often face symptoms of anxiety, depression, as well as increased stress levels. Their overall well-being can be knocked down a notch, as well, which, in turn, can reduce productivity and job satisfaction.
Abusive conduct and bullying also tends to diminish productivity. That’s because the workforce can get distracted, become disengaged, or even take time away from the office so they can get away from the stress of the workplace.
An unhealthy work environment can tend to chase employees away. The high turnover rates that can result are expensive. Plus, they’re also detrimental to the dynamics of teamwork.
When an organization tolerates behavior that is abusive, word can travel fast. As a result, the company’s reputation can be damaged among its various audiences, including clients, stakeholders and employees.
Abusive conduct can even sometimes end up with lawsuits being filed. In turn, that leads to financial downturns and a lessened brand image.
With all of this in mind, it's vital to take proactive steps to address and prevent abusive conduct and bullying in the workplace.
Creating a Culture of Respect and Inclusivity
Here are the 10 steps to follow to create a culture of respect and inclusivity.
- Set the Boundaries: You can directly influence the health of your organization by having a well-defined anti-bullying policy. Effective policies do a good job of setting expectations, including defining what constitutes abusive conduct, along with the consequences for taking part if abusive actions and bullying. Another important aspect is outlining procedures for reporting and investigating incidents.
- Uphold Accountability Among Leaders: Leaders within the company can have a monumental impact on setting the proper tone. This definitely sets the right tone by sending a message that comes through loud and clear for all employees. As part of this, it’s good to support leaders in modeling positive behavior, holding themselves accountable, and actively addressing issues as they come up.
- Offer Education and Training: It’s absolutely essential to make training on workplace harassment, diversity, and inclusion a mandatory activity sends an indisputable message. In addition, it’s important to ensure that training along these lines isn’t a once-and-done proposition … but rather that it is ongoing.
- Develop a System for Reporting: It’s vital to put together a confidential, secure reporting system for employees to bring incidents of abusive conduct or bullying to the forefront. In this way, you can support employees in reporting issues without fear of retaliation, and making sure they know the process is taken seriously.
- Following Through on the Review: The process of issues being identified and shared is important, but it’s just the start of effectively dealing with the issue. At the same time, it is very important to carry out an objective investigation. This outcome can be enhanced by selecting a team member or team for handling these requests — in turn, making sure that everyone involved is heard and treated fairly.
- Support for Victims: It’s essential that victims are treated well and are given the right kinds of assistance and counseling so that they can make their way through the process with a minimum of stress. By conducting regular check-ins, victims feel supported during difficult times.
- Keep the Lines Open: Emphasize the importance of open and honest communication within the company. Team members should feel at ease in talking about their concerns with supervisors, HR, or designated contacts. Establishing channels for anonymous feedback can also be helpful.
- Encouraging Engagement: Sometimes, team members who aren’t directly involved in an issue may remain silence so they can stay out of the conflict and not have it reflect negatively on them in any way. However, these surrounding employees can be essential parts of making sure that abusive conduct can be eliminated. As part of this, it’s important to provide guidelines on how to intervene safely can empower bystanders to take action.
- Commemorate the Positive: As sought-after behavior is observed, it’s important to call it out and shine the spotlight on it for others to see. Along those lines, consider acknowledging and celebrating acts of kindness, teamwork, and respectful behavior within the workplace. Recognizing and rewarding those who uphold the values of respect and inclusivity does a great job of achieving that end.
- Show the Progress: As efforts are put in place and start to take hold in supporting your organization’s anti-bullying efforts, it’s vital to keep employee satisfaction levels high by following through and showing the levels of progress that have been made by reflecting employee satisfaction statistics.
Boosting a Culture of Inclusiveness
Meeting the challenges of abusive conduct and bullying in today’s workforce is not just about compliance; it's about creating a culture where every employee feels valued, safe, and able to reach their full potential. Organizations that put extra emphasis on respect and inclusivity benefit from higher morale, increased productivity, lower turnover, and a stronger level of credibility.
Nothing worthwhile comes easily or automatically, but when it comes to making a powerful, positive impact on your team members, it is vitally essential to keep working toward a more positive and inclusive environment.
By putting active steps in place and supporting an environment where abusive conduct and bullying are not tolerated, you can create a resilient, and more successful workforce. It's a journey toward a better workplace for all, and it's a journey worth embarking upon.
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