The safety and well-being of employees goes beyond ensuring accidents are kept to a minimum. What about the ways employees feel when they are working? Do they feel supported? Is the work environment free of bullying and harassment? As a business owner or manager, are you creating and supporting the type of environment where all employees feel welcome? Unfortunately, bullying and harassment can come from those in authority, making it more intimidating and difficult for employees to take action. Too often, an employee’s only real course of action to change a hostile work environment is to leave it. Owners and managers of organizations can get advice and help on how to make more productive changes from biz catalyst 360.
Bullying and harassment incidents are not always blatant or isolated events. At times, bullying of an employee can be coordinated between several staff members. Besides educating employees on what constitutes acts of bullying, managers and owners should be aware of whether they themselves are committing or supporting these acts. Even sarcasm and jokes can turn into bullying. It’s just as important that all employees feel they have an avenue of support if they need to initiate a bullying/harassment complaint. One of the ways to combat hostile work environments is to promote open communication, as well as understanding and empathy.
Harassment, in particular sexual harassment, can be more difficult to recognize and combat. This is largely due to older and current social norms that have legitimized sexual harassment for decades. In addition, sexual harassment incidents can and do occur between co-workers outside of the office environment. Sexual harassment can also occur between an organization’s employees and clients. Besides employee education, organizations need to send strong signals that these types of “norms” will not be tolerated. It is never easy to implement disciplinary action, but clear boundaries and rules need to be established on what constitutes sexual harassment as many organizations fail to define it.
When employees do not feel comfortable working with their co-workers, employees will not be able to perform their best. Harassment and bullying go well beyond a simple dislike of someone; these types of incidents are meant to intimidate, belittle, and abuse. These incidents are simply about exercising power at the expense of someone else and furthermore are illegal. Learn what bullying and harassment are, how to prevent and stop it, and how to ensure each employee feels safe.