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Why you need a good bullying and harassment policy

Kerrie-Anne Chinn
2016-08-02

Does your organization have a strong policy in place around bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment in the workplace is a serious issue for many Australian workers, and one that can have very negative impacts for organizations. To prevent these impacts from occurring, and protect both employees and employers, certain laws have been put in place on a state and national level.

Managers can play a significant role in preventing and addressing workplace harassment. As a HR Manager, it’s important that you’re up-to-date with these bullying and harassment laws. It’s also essential that you have a very good understanding of your company’s stance on these issues and develop solid anti-bullying policies to reflect this.

Today we’ll look at the impacts of harassment for both employees and organizations, and how a good anti-bullying policy can help prevent them.

How Bullying Affects Employees

We all want to work for a company that has a good organizational culture – in a work environment that’s open and positive, with employees who are happy, motivated, focused and productive.

If a team member is suffering bullying or harassment, they’re likely to become the opposite of these things, soon displaying unhappy, unmotivated, distracted and unproductive behaviour. 

As well as showing poor results and performance indicators at work, the effects of bullying or harassment can often also impact on an individual’s personal life and sense of self, manifesting in loss of sleep, physical ailments and serious psychological and emotional distress.

How Bullying Impacts Organizations 

When bullying becomes a problem in the workplace, it doesn’t just affect the person or people being harassed and targeted. It can very quickly become a problem for the whole organization.

The effects of suffering inappropriate or unreasonable behaviour can result in high levels of absenteeism, sick leave and staff turnover for companies. You can also expect to see low morale, poor performance rates, reduced productivity and a negative work culture.  

This leads to poor reputation and brand name for companies, loss of profits, and the financial stresses of hiring and training new staff. 

What Does an Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy Do?

A good anti-bullying policy can mitigate the risk of these events occurring, and works to protect both employees and the employer.

Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace, and a strong policy in this area will ensure your organization is compliant and reflecting its legal obligations. By developing a good bullying and harassment policy, you’re also showing your commitment to providing a safe and productive environment for your employees, while promoting a positive work culture for all.

For employees, a HR policy around bullying and harassment allows individuals to accurately recognize and define unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, as well as directing them to the appropriate resources and contacts for assistance.

 When you develop a bullying and harassment policy, it will apply to all individuals within your organization – from your CEO to contracted cleaners – making your workplace a more equal and fair environment.

Learn More About Preventing Bullying in the Workplace

As a HR Manager, you’ll no doubt want to make sure each person in your HR team is aware of the definitions and implications of bullying and harassment, so they can provide accurate guidance and advice to organizational staff. It’s also very important that you feel confident yourself, in developing and implementing policies and distributing the right information on this topic.

There are many great courses available online, created specifically for HR Managers and teams, that you can access to learn more about addressing bullying in the workplace. For HR Managers, Bullying: The Manager’s Role explores the role of managers in preventing bullying and abusive conduct in the workplace.

Similarly, Workplace Harassment for Managers explores the negative impact harassment can have on an organization's work environment and looks at the role of Managers in preventing and responding to all forms of workplace harassment. Both courses aim to assist you in preventing and effectively responding to incidents of workplace bullying and harassment.

You can also use online training courses to make sure employees in other teams are well-informed of the organization’s stance and policies on bullying, and know exactly where to go for information and who to contact in the event of bullying or harassment. Staff can simply enroll and complete training modules online, using the Go1 platform. With a Learning Management System like Go1, you can also upload and store all of your organization’s compliance training materials in one easy place, making it easier to access HR documents and policies quickly and conveniently.

We hope this has given you a greater understanding of the importance of strong anti-bullying policies for companies, as well as some insight into the potential of online training for HR needs.

 

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