Workplace bullying has become a hot-topic recently. According to Gary Namie, Director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, incidents of workplace bullying are on the rise. There appears to be plenty of evidence to back up his claim. A survey conducted by WBI-Zogby found that nearly 50% of all American workers have been affected by workplace bullying, both as targets and as witnesses.  The problem has become so pronounced that a recent article on suggested bullying is “the new sexual harassment”.

Although legislation allowing employees to sue on the basis of an “abusive work environment” has been introduced in 16 states across the US since 2003, it has yet to become law, leaving the onus on businesses to develop their own workplace bullying policies. Considering the burdensome financial impact of workplace bullying, developing a workplace bullying policy where none yet exist should be a top priority for HR and senior management of any company.

According to Investopedia, reduced productivity, lost time, employee turnover, legal costs, and damage to the company’s reputation, among other things, all are the direct result of workplace bullying. If your company does not yet have a workplace bullying policy in place, consider including these 8 best practices as you begin to craft one:

  1. A statement of commitment from senior management to eliminate workplace bullying and provide a safe working environment to all employees.
  2. Examples of both the standard behavior that all employees are expected to comply with and unacceptable behavior that should be avoided.
  3. The inclusion of SMS, email, and social media communications in the policy.
  4. A description of the consequences of non-compliance.
  5. Clear communication of the steps required for properly reporting workplace bullying.
  6. A Guarantee of protection from victimization for any complainant.
  7. An outline of procedures to be followed in the event of a reported incident.
  8. A statement on how the policy will be implemented, reviewed, and monitored.

Don’t allow your working environment to be tainted by workplace bullying. Implement these and other policies to make 2014 a great year. To learn more ways to manage your leadership risk, get your copy of Understanding Risk Exposure today!

workplace bullying policy