Yesterday, employers were urged to take a stand against bullying in the workplace. As part of the National Ban Bullying at Work Day, operational director Matt Witheridge of charity The Andrea Adams Trust said that over 350 private and public sector organisations collectively employing three million workers took part in the campaign.
Judging by the huge national media attention this campaign attracted, the message is finally getting through to employers that bullying must not be tolerated at work and action must be taken to raise awareness and tackle bullying at source.
To celebrate the day, the release of 500 balloons were let loose around 2pm yesterday from The Roof Gardens, Kensington, where a personal message was attached to each balloon from someone that had been a victim of bullying in the workplace.
I caught a balloon in mid-flight and read the message before throwing it back up to the winds. It said:
“I don’t need a thicker skin. I am not over-sensitive. I am not insecure, I am a victim of bullying.”
“So many employees are left out in the cold,” commented Witheridge. “We need employers to step forward and be prepared to make a difference by openly confronting the issue of bullying within their organisation.” He also went on to explain that bullying isn’t just a wellbeing issue, it also makes clear business commercial sense…
For example, last year, £18 billion was lost to plc companies due to bullying as well as 19 million days in lost productivity. “Think of the maths,” continues Witheridge. “If you cure a culture of bullying at work, this will have a huge impact on your bottom line and you’ll see an enormous increase in employee productivity.”
The national Ban Bullying at Work campaign is aimed at encouraging more employers to own up and take responsibility of bullying in the workplace. Witheridge said: “You are never going to be able to totally eradicate bullying, but if employers can admit that bullying does go on, then we are going to congratulate them for coming forward – it’s not about blaming anyone. We’re not going to throw rocks at you, but it makes absolute sense for employers to understand what is deemed acceptable behaviour in the workplace and what is not.”