8 Steps to Take to Stop Bullying in Your Workplace

Part 2 of a 2-part series

workplace bullyingIn our previous article on the topic of workplace bullying, we provided some statistics on numbers of workers affected by workplace bullying, the eight workplace bully personality types, the high cost of bullying to employers, and briefly mentioned steps that employers can take to minimize liability.

Remember that 35% of U.S. workers have been bullied according to a Zogby International survey, and the most common employer action has been to deny and discount the bullying. This environment leads to reduced productivity, increased turnover, and sometimes serious legal problems. Continue reading

Workplace Bullying – Fact or Fiction? Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

workplace-bullying-freedom-2016It’s 2016, right? We know enough about discrimination and harassment that this “myth” of workplace bullying needs to be debunked, right? WRONG!

I’m writing this from a perspective that has been tainted by an actual workplace situation being faced by one of my daughters today. But, I am writing also to prepare you, the small business owner, to face some of these realities and become proactive in stopping such behavior before it becomes rooted in your culture.

When we think of “bullying” we generally picture high school locker rooms or playgrounds where emotionally or physically immature kids are taken advantage of by bigger, more aggressive students. Who doesn’t want to help those victims?

But, the workplace bully is different from that schoolyard kid. In fact, according to HRMorning.com, there are at least eight workplace bully personality types. And the behaviors exhibited by those bullies take on many forms – from exclusion from workplace or after-hours activities, rude or excessive and unwarranted criticism, belittling of co-workers, attempts at sabotage of work or relationships, swearing and raised voices.

Some Statistics to Ponder

According to a 2014 study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI),

  • 65 million workers have been affected by workplace bullying.
  • Nearly 30% of workers had experienced some type of bullying on the job.
  • 69% of bullies are male, females comprise the other 31%. Females bullied other women in 68% of the cases.
  • 72% of those surveyed felt their workplace rationalized or encouraged a culture of bullying or denied it existed at all.
  • Bosses or supervisors are the majority of bullies.
  • 61% of the targets interviewed lost their jobs as the only way of stopping the bullying and the perpetrators lost their jobs only 15% of the time.
  • 93% of the participants supported the Healthy Workplace Bill – a grassroots effort to apply pressure upon state legislatures and the federal government to enact legislation to stop workplace bullying.
  • Additional statistics in a flyer you can download.

High Cost of Bullying

If there is no law against bullying today and very few laws requiring training for supervisors (except for Utah, Tennessee and California), what impact does bullying have on your workplace? Is it worth your time and expense to provide training to prevent this kind of behavior? When you consider some of those stats noted earlier (65 million employees impacted), what about loss of productivity and turnover to avoid a bully? This kind of turnover is costly to your bottom line.

Steps You Can Take to Minimize Your Liability

This is a lot of information to digest and you are probably asking, “What can I do about this in my workplace?” Initially, get educated. Learn the signs of bullying, because while there is no law on the books today against bullying, there are other laws that might apply:

  • Hostile work environment
  • Discrimination against protected categories (race, sexual orientation, disability).

In a future article, I will go into more depth on each of these steps, but for now, just be aware of ways to minimize your exposure:

  • Promote a positive culture in your workplace.
  • Investigate any complaints of bullying seriously and promptly.
  • Train your supervisors on how to identify bullying and how to address the situation properly.

Bullying in the workplace is a serious issue with real costs. If you have not given this situation any honest consideration, now is the time before turnover, absenteeism or “stress” workers compensation claims become all too common. HR Solutions may be right at your fingertips. To learn more about how you can protect your business, give us a call or drop us a line.

This article is acknowledging “Freedom from Workplace Bullies” week October 16 to 22, 2016. For more information, click here.

Toss or Save? Human Resources Record-keeping Quandaries

record-keepingWe are heading into the last quarter of 2016. I have begun clearing my file cabinets and desk drawers to start 2017 fresh. Many of you or your managers and supervisors may be doing the same—congratulations on getting a jump-start on the New Year record-keeping. But wait! How many of those pesky pieces of paper or electronic files can you really discard or delete? In your quest to keep a clean, organized desk or office, you might run the risk of getting rid of documents you must keep under the law. If you destroy the wrong document, you could destroy your business. And if you keep everything, you may be violating federal rules on the “reasonable” disposal of sensitive documents. Continue reading

5 Basic Questions About Employee Turnover

employee turnoverIndustry and employment news is filled with stories of employees moving on to greener pastures now that the job market has opened up a bit. This coming and going is generally referred to as “turnover.” As a small business owner, why should you care? What impact does turnover have on your business? We are going to attempt to answer those questions in this article. Continue reading

What Laws Apply to My Small Business? 5 Important Points

small business lawAs a small business owner you need to stay informed of a variety of federal laws, but don’t forget state laws which can be more restrictive than the federal laws. For example, the federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 per hour, but many states and some cities enacted much higher minimum wage levels. The golden rule in cases where the federal, state, or local laws collide is that the rule that is most beneficial to the employee will prevail.

While there are many laws that apply to businesses of all sizes, others are based on the number of employees you have. As a small business owner, it’s hard to keep up with these changing laws—especially if your business is going through a rapid growth and hiring phase. But while you’re hiring top performing staff, make sure to verify you’re in compliance with the law. If you are not, you risk the business you have worked so hard to build. You not only protect your company but your employees as well. If you are fined significantly, you may not be able to retain employees. Continue reading

Let Those People Go!

employee problem4 Quick Questions:

  1. Do you have an employee or several employees who have been causing you grief for a while? Are they disruptive, unfriendly to others, not performing, and just generally a problem?
  2. Do you find yourself looking at them saying to yourself, “why are they still here?” or “he is more trouble than he’s worth”, then returning to your work and doing nothing about it?
  3. Are you are waiting for them to do that “one thing” so you can get rid of them on the spot? Or you need to hire someone first and how do you do that without them finding out?
  4. Worse yet – you are afraid of being sued after you let them go?

Quite a conundrum you have here – a situation that is difficult to get out of especially if you have accepted this person and their behavior for a long time (maybe a couple of years). Continue reading

Interview Questions to Identify Top Performers

employe hiringAs a small business owner, one of your key responsibilities is to identify top performers who will fit your business culture and contribute to the success of your business. The interview is an important step in the process and the questions you ask are critical to the success of the interview. So, some common questions you may have followed along with some responses are here: Continue reading