In a recently commissioned survey, it was revealed that a shocking 40% of people have experienced workplace bullying, of whom 65% chose not to report it. These really upsetting statistics reflect that, sadly, despite age, gender and ethnicity or any other mediating factors, this is still a universal concern.
In order to inform people of the problem and in an attempt to combat these statistics, one of our brilliant clients Wright Hassall has launched a campaign to End Workplace Bullying, by holding an ‘End Workplace Bullying Day’ on the 25th of October 2023. This powerful campaign is pioneered by the wonderful Head of Employment Law at Wright Hassall, Tina Chander, who has spoken previously about her personal experiences with toxic workplace environments and discriminatory behaviour, which you can read more about here.
Tina opens up about how often bullying behaviour can be disguised as ‘banter’ and ‘joking around’, but this is a much darker issue. Discriminatory and hurtful banter must never slip through the cracks, and should be disciplined just as heavily as any other form of racism, harassment, bullying or bigotry. Educating and informing yourself as an employer, employee or colleague is vital to ensure you can prevent and avoid these instances occurring in your workplace.
What is ‘End Workplace Bullying’ all about?
It is as simple as it sounds, but detecting the ongoing happenings in your own firm and workplace is often not so simple.
The awareness-raising day is being launched in response to revelations from a nationally representative survey of 2,135 people, which uncovered that almost one in two people (45% of those surveyed) believe their workplace tolerates discriminatory banter at least some of the time, and an astonishing one in 12 people admitted this happened on a regular basis. Discriminatory behaviour experienced or witnessed comes in the form of any stereotypes, slurs, commentary or ‘inappropriate jokes’ purely relating to race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, and image-based commentary.
One third more women experience workplace bullying or harassment (or both) from a coworker or supervisor than do men, reflecting that women are still being marginalised in the workplace, which is simply unacceptable. Encouraging progressive (and by that I mean equal and fair) norms in the workplace should be a standard for any employer and employees, and it is incredibly disheartening to hear that this is still not the case in 2023.
33% of people wouldn’t recommend a job in their organisation – don’t fall into that bracket.
So, how can I support my employees?
Reaching out to employees and making them feel safe, comfortable and heard is the simplest of operations; however, many employers clearly struggle to do so. End Workplace Bullying Day is a chance to demonstrate how you support all members of your organisation, putting into place and emphasising existing employee wellbeing and support, including preventative and disciplinary measures if any bullying does occur.
Wright Hassall encourages workplaces to actively engage in discussions surrounding workplace bullying and create supportive, safe spaces in which employees feel comfortable to speak out about any bullying or harassment they may experience.
We are supporting Tina and Wright Hassall in this movement by informing our network of how they can avoid and erase toxic behaviour within their workplaces and cultivate an all-round happier working environment. An important thing to remember is that this movement is not about shaming employees or workplaces, it is about drawing attention to understanding what toxic behaviour is, how it manifests itself, and how you can combat this in the workplace.
There is always more that can be done to make employees feel heard, supported and nurtured. So, if you’re an employer, reach out, check in and reassure your employees that there is a network built on support and care that they can lean on if they are ever experiencing any bullying or harassment. And if you don’t have a system in place – build one! The wellbeing of your employees is extremely important, and although the 25th of October will be specifically dedicated to this issue, ensuring there is no toxic, harmful workplace behaviour should be an everyday agenda for every firm.