Wednesday 7 November 2007 is both ‘Ban Bullying at Work’ day and ‘National Stress Awareness’ day; and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is sharing free advice on how to tackle the problems ahead of the event.
Dianah Worman, CIPD diversity adviser, said: “Eliminating all forms of harassment and bullying makes good business sense. A workplace environment which is free from hostility enables people to contribute more effectively to organisational success and to achieve higher levels of job satisfaction. People cannot make their best contribution when under fear of harassment, bullying or abuse.”
According to research from the professional body in 2006, a fifth of all employees have experienced some form of bullying or harassment. Victims are more likely to be depressed and anxious and to be less satisfied at work.
Stress and anxiety in turn leads to higher labour turnover, reduced productivity, lower efficiency and divided teams, the research revealed.
The CIPD advises businesses to develop a policy as a first step in addressing harassment and, according to another 2006 CIPD survey on diversity, the signs are encouraging with 91 per cent of respondents having a diversity and equal opportunities policy in place in 2004, which grew to 93 per cent in 2006. In addition, 83 per cent had a harassment or bullying policy and 39 per cent had a policy covering dignity at work.
But the CIPD warned that a policy does not automatically change cultures and behaviours, so senior management support and communicating the policy is essential, through staff handbooks and intranet, induction and training programmes, and appraisal interviews.