- Posted by Jon Harju
- On December 3, 2019
Bullying has long been associated with children in the schoolyard, but now more and more employees are speaking out about their experiences with workplace bullying — and studies echo it’s on the rise.
A Canadian workplace bullying study revealed:
- 45% of employees reported they were bullied
- 1 in 3 bullied employees reported it caused health problems
- 26% of bullied employees stopped the bullying by quitting
The impact of workplace bullying
Bullying can happen at all levels and corners of an organization — in all cases, it is a form of power struggle. When someone is a victim of bullying, they can experience:
- Stress-induced high blood pressure
- Panic disorders
- Feelings of shame and/orguilt
- Sleep loss and/or fatigue
Tragically, there are cases of bullying that induce post-traumatic stress and even suicide.
Bullying affects the workplace culture and productivity by raising the alarm to all employees that their workplace is psychologically ‘unsafe.’ The stress of witnessing workplace bullying causes a person’s cortisol levels to rise that biochemically signals to them that their lives are at risk, triggering fear and distress.
The tell-tale signs of bullying or harassment in the workplace
A bully may:
- Insult or humiliate the person creating a hostile environment.
- Undermine another employee’s work by consistently calling attention to flaws. Bullies focus on a person, while constructive criticism focuses on a task.
- Ignore the victim’s suggestions.
A victim may:
- Become nervous/anxious when in the company of the bully.
- Show lower productivity and quality in their work.
- Withdraw, become quiet, sad, and depressed.
- Become increasingly absent from work — potentially leading to short or long-term disability leave claims, labelled as stress or burnout.
3 ways leaders can prevent workplace bullying
- Implement zero-tolerance anti-bullying policies and procedures to help team members feel safe and supported in raising a complaint when it first arises.
- Provide conflict management training to empower managers and employees to deal with workplace conflict effectively.
- Offer employees easy-to-access, confidential mental health benefits with a focus on preventative tools and treatment intervention
A serious problem that demands action
Bullying impacts the morale, retention, and productivity of an organization. It’s essential for leaders to recognize the early signs and symptoms of bullying so they can swiftly and effectively address the bully and support the team members impacted.
Learn how Snapclarity can transform your employees’ mental healthcare experience.