Contrary to popular belief, bullies do not simply grow up into well-rounded adults after they leave high school. In fact, many of us have come into contact with bullies in the workplace. As defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute, workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators.
This conduct can take the form of:
• Work interference/sabotage
• Verbal abuse
Draft a Protection Policy
According to a recent survey, 27% of adult Americans said they directly experienced abusive conduct while at work. If you ask me, the odds are working against us. That is why it is of absolute importance for your company to have a violence prevention policy.
Your violence protection policy should consider:
• Weapons, hazardous materials, objects, or substances
• Prohibit strong language, conduct, and actions
• Guidelines for reporting unwelcomed behavior
• Consequences to the employee
Keep in mind this is not an exclusive list, just suggestions to consider when drafting your policy. Depending on your type of business you may have more or less points to include.
Hiring right is one of the most effective methods of preventing workplace violence. The obvious signs of potential violence are mood swings, paranoia, quick temper, and a history of violence. This can be hard to detect during the interview process, which is why it is so important to ask the right questions and take the time to get to know your candidates.
Once you do find the right candidate it is very important to take the time to properly train and walk them through the onboarding process. This is the best time to set expectations and make employees aware of the policies in place.
How to Regain Control After an Incident
Unfortunately, no system or policy is perfect and we can’t always see the outcome of a situation until it happens. If you do encounter a bully within your workplace it is crucial to report the behavior so the proper person can handle the situation. This is also a great time to take a look into your violence prevention policy. Along with re-reading your policy, encourage your employees to stay up-to-date on policies too. Keeping these rules in mind could be the difference between having another incident and having a peaceful workplace.