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How can we better address workplace bullying in Australia?

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

How can we better address workplace bullying in Australia?

Nearly 50 per cent of all Australian workers have experienced workplace bullying during their careers. What can leaders do to prevent and address this?

Did you know that over 45 per cent of Australians have experienced workplace bullying at some point in their career? In fact, according to a report conducted by the Centre for Health Initiatives, the University of Wollongong and non-profit beyondblue, between 5 to 7 per cent of Australian workers have been victims of workplace bullying in the past 6 months.

A survey by @beyondblue finds half of all Australians will experience workplace bullying ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) October 9, 2016

Bullying can take on a lot of different forms. Generally speaking, it's defined as prolonged exposure to negative experiences and unacceptable acts from other team members.

Based on the research in the report, workplace bullying tends to thrive as a result of poor organisational structures. Companies with poor communication, high levels of stress and ineffective leadership are usually the ones that experience the most problems, pair these red flags with a lack of policies around workplace bullying and you have a recipe for disaster.

When people experience this kind of harassment in the workplace they are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and overall health problems.

How can we prevent workplace bullying in Australia?

Workplace bullying is a serious concern in terms of employee wellbeing. When people experience this kind of harassment in the workplace they are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and overall health problems. This then translates into increased levels of absenteeism and presenteeism which means lost productivity for your business.

Clearly, workplace bullying is something that needs to be addressed (and ideally prevented) quickly and efficiently. Here are some key steps you can take as a leader.

1. Identify and respond to organisational deficiencies enabling bullying

In order to address the roots of workplace bullying, we need to first understand what problems within the business allow bullying to happen in the first place. From poor communication to an excess of stress, once we find the core problems we need to work to fix them.

2. Create and communicate policies to address workplace bullying

People are less likely to report instances of workplace bullying when they don't recognise what bullying looks like and don't know how to voice their concerns. Leaders must create effective processes and make sure they are clearly communicated throughout the office.

3. Design investigation procedures and respond promptly


Once people report these problems, there should be a prompt and effective process for investigating and then addressing the misconduct. When creating these protocols, leaders should ensure timeliness is built into the system. Leaving cases unresolved for too long only prolongs the problem and decreases trust in leadership.

All of these areas can be tackled and improved by upon when you have
the right training for yourself and your staff. Barringtons offers an online course created to address workplace bullying in the most effective ways possible. To learn more about how you can get involved, make an enquiry to our team today.

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