A casual reader of this magazine could wonder what’s going wrong in HR departments
across the country.
Last week we revealed that women HR managers get paid, on average, £8,000
less than their male counterparts. This is despite woman managers in other
areas of the business matching, or being paid more, than the men they work
And this week, research conducted by Personnel Today with anti-bullying
charity the Andrea Adams Trust, shows that more than three quarters of HR
professionals have been bullied at work.
Three quarters of staff in the very department that is meant to tackle this
problem feel under undue fire from their bosses and co-workers.
Bullying is often subtle – leaving people off group e-mails, snide comments,
and setting inconsistent work targets – but its effects are not. We were told
that some victims suffered from stress and anxiety, others had nervous
breakdowns and some had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
More worrying, perhaps, is that the problem has increased since Personnel Today first investigated the
issue five years ago.
It could be argued that HR professionals are ‘super-sensitive’ to the issue
because they are trained to be.
Some go even further and suggest that many people in today’s workforce treat
any form of criticism as ‘bullying’.
But that is not the point. If someone in your department feels they are
being bullied, then there is a problem, and the problem needs to be addressed.
There is no doubt that many HR departments are doing a good job combating
bad practice throughout their organisation, but how many have taken a step back
and looked at their own team?
Surely the best way to deal with bullying in your organisation is to get
your house in order first. Develop the right attitude and lead by example.
By Quentin Reade