Battling bullying and harassment in the workplace

When harassment and bullying are not handled effectively, further damage to employee productivity and morale can have a ripple effect throughout the entire workplace. Not only does it create turnover, which affects a company’s bottom line, but it also negatively impacts the company’s culture and creates a disruptive work environment.

Waukesha-based MRA—The Management Association says companies should foster a work environment that values individuals and does not tolerate negative behaviors and attitudes. The organization suggests five ways workplace bullying and harassment can be avoided:

  1. Have a workplace harassment policy in place that includes verbal abuses and anti-bullying procedures.
  2. Be vigilant. Employers should ensure they are in a position to observe day-to-day activity and interactions so they can recognize and inquire about any harassment, intimidation or other types of bullying that appear to be happening.
  3. Create and model a culture of respect for individuals. Set values, policies and codes of conduct to reinforce a positive and inclusive workplace.
  4. Train managers, supervisors and employees on the policies and procedures. Make sure the organization acts consistently and effectively to prevent and stop the negative behaviors.
  5. Don’t drop the ball. Promptly respond to a problem or concern. Make the complaint a priority. Take appropriate action when harassment or bullying is identified. The only way to eliminate this negative behavior is to promptly address it when it occurs.

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