Tips to encourage conflict-free employee relationships

joshua-ness-9iqqFZ7OuwY-unsplashWith research showing more than a third of U.S. workers and nearly a third of U.K. employees have been bullied at work, clearly, the way some managers and employees treat their colleagues might be a concern.

Workplace bullying can encompass a number of verbal and other actions. Sixty-two percent of the employees who participated in a VitalSmarts study saw bullies sabotaging other employees’ work or reputation.

Fifty-two percent observed browbeating, threats or intimidation; and 4 percent reported they’d seen bullies physically intimidate or assault coworkers.

What can your organization do to prevent bullying in the workplace?

Publicize anti-bullying policies — and encourage on-the-ground support

While slightly more than half (51 percent) of employees say their company has a procedure for dealing with workplace bullying, only 7 percent report anyone has utilized the policy, according to VitalSmarts. Its research also found informal peer accountability — which can help show a bully inappropriate behavior isn’t sustainable — is one of the most effective methods to stop bullying in the workplace.

sacha-styles-1222727-unsplash-1Don’t let power go unchecked

While bullies are sometimes direct equals — a Workplace Bullying Institute survey found 33 percent have the same rank as their targets — 61 percent of bullies are bosses. Unfortunately, bullying stops most often because targeted employees leave their job; only 10 percent of the survey respondents said employers blocked bullying at work by doing something positive and proactive, such as creating a policy or conducting a credible investigation.

Don’t assume young workers will always be targeted

Employers might think aggressors will focus on less experienced workers who may not have the confidence or feel they’re in a position to speak up; however, employees who were between 45 to 54 years old reported the highest rate of discrimination, harassment or bullying at work in a 2018 Stats NZ survey. A Trades Union Congress poll found the highest prevalence of workplace bullying in the U.K. occurs among 40- to 59-year-old employees.

For additional tips on creating a positive work environment and managing employee relations, view these blog posts on three key ways to prevent workplace conflict, encouraging a competitive, yet not cutthroat office environment and the compelling reason you should support company social events.