Procedures for monitoring bullying in the workplace are vital if employers
want to be sure they have a harmonious work culture.
Dr Diane Beale of the University of Nottingham believes effective monitoring
is essential to help identify bullying at an early stage. She says it can
benefit both the employee involved and the organisation.
At a British Psychological Society conference, Beale, who specialises in
violence and bullying at work, said employers should use a multi-faceted
approach to identify and deal with bullying.
She advocates the use of trained advisers for staff to turn to for
confidential advice and support.
But she also highlights the need for staff surveys to cover issues such as
working relationships and for employee appraisals, sickness absence rates and
exit interviews to provide a broader picture of an organisation’s work culture.
Beale stressed that HR and senior management need to work together to tackle
bullying and ensure the issue is taken seriously and dealt with pragmatically.
"It is not just an HR problem. Obviously HR and health and safety have
a role to play but senior management and the board as a whole have to commit to
it in practice not just on paper," she said.
Beale said a lot of bullying is quite subtle, such as managers who impose
unrealistic deadlines, or staff who withhold information so colleagues get into
"All organisations should be alert to the possibility of bullying not
just saying, ‘We don’t have it here’," said Beale.
"National surveys show that about 10 per cent of people believe they
have been bullied at work. Companies should look at surveys on the problem in
their industry sector and then look at their own organisation."
By Ben Willmott