Royal Mail has saved 7m in the past three years by cracking down on bullying and harassment in the workplace.
David Vaughan, a head of diversity and inclusion at Royal Mail, told Personnel Today that an overhaul of the company’s policy had led to a large drop in reported instances of bullying.
New figures from monthly staff surveys show that in the past three years, the number of Royal Mail staff claiming they were the victims of harassment had dropped from 18% to 13%.
Using a formula based on trade union and consultancy estimates, Royal Mail estimates each percentage point drop amounts to £1.6m in savings for the company.
However, the statistics mean that in the past year, 25,350 staff were victims of bullying.
“We are very pleased with the results, but we realise we are still in the early stages,” Vaughan said. “Before, no-one challenged unacceptable behaviour, there was a lack of training and people found it hard to complain.
“However, when there were complaints, they were trivialised and there was no manager support, which led to victimisation of complainants,” he said.
To combat this, the Royal Mail agreed a set of values, which include making it easy to complain about bullying, and giving support to the complainants, as well as those who are alleged to have committed the bullying.
While Royal Mail has a zero-tolerance stance when people are found to be guilty of bullying, this even-handed approach helped guard against malicious claims, Vaughan said.
The company has also put all of its 195,000 staff through diversity training and created a new bullying and harassment policy.
The new policy is based on early intervention, as most employees who were consulted on the plans said they wanted issues ‘nipped in the bud’, with an apology being a sufficient response, Vaughan said.