Many organisations express a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy to bullying, although it is certainly a positive ambition to strive for a workplace where bullying does not happen, unfortunately, in practice, such policies are not effective. Such practices can make bullied employees less likely to speak up, and those who carry out the unwanted behaviours may change tactics to avoid being caught out.
There are several positive steps that an organisation can take in order to prevent and tackle bullying:
• Ensure all staff members know what is expected of them, through effective policies, and training. Management should be trained to be able to effectively co-ordinate their teams, but be clear as to what constitutes unacceptable behaviour.
• Avoid labelling people as ‘bullies’ and rather defining their specific behaviours as unacceptable.
• Provide dedicated staff members as the first port of call, who can be approached by employees who feel they are being treated unfairly.
• Offer and promote early resolution methods such as mediation, so that employees are aware of and feel as if there is a means by which their situation can be improved.