Whether you own a small design studio with two employees or an established large business, it is imperative for you to set the behavioral standards at your company that you believe is required of your employees. Workplace bullying is unfortunately prevalent in many different types of business, yet it is something that can be prevented by taking the time to speak to your employees, understanding the social habits within your workforce, and disciplining those who step out of line, protecting your workers from workplace harm.
Make Time for Your Employees
Owning a business is very busy work; your days can be filled with back-to-back meetings with board directors, consultants, and staff members, and you may feel you have little extra time on your hands. However, neglecting to make time for your employees can have disastrous results. Research has shown that ensuring mental health in the workplace matters and should be valued not only for empathetic reasons but because it is also financially beneficial for productivity in your company if your staff are happy while they work.
Identify the Signs of Bullying
Although your employees will probably not express the same behaviors around their director as they do throughout the day, there will be some indicators that one of your employees is suffering emotionally and these include:
- Isolation – he or she may take lunch away from work or have broken by him or herself more often.
- More absences from work – how many sick days has he or she taken recently?
- Diversion – is he or she avoiding meetings with you or other colleagues?
- Productivity – the bullied employee may be less productive during work hours.
- Displaying physical signs of stress, such as headaches, backaches and not getting enough sleep.
Of course, these are not definite signs of workplace bullying, but if your employee is unhappy or struggling with another issue outside work it is best that you inquire about their mental health to show them that you care about them and that you want to support them.
Investigate Every Employee Complaint
In order to prevent an environment where bullying (for whatever reason) is deemed appropriate, it is imperative that any complaints vocalized within the company are dealt with quickly and seriously. It is also a good idea to carry out an employee misconduct investigation into workplace computers to check whether any abusive messages have been sent to an employee from someone within the workforce.
For your own sake, it is also worth doing everything that you can to prevent bullying. If it can be proven that an employee was bullied at your company and you fostered an environment for this to take place – or you were told about it and did nothing – then you can be held personally responsible because you’re responsible for the workplace culture.
While bullying in the workplace is a growing problem, thanks to the untraceable nature of cyberspace, these tips should help you get to the bottom of complaints so that you’re guarding your vulnerable employees against harm while they’re at work