HR initiatives are creating greater awareness of bullying in the workplace, according to findings from a survey by Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review.
Results from the study of 92 organisations show that anti-bullying policies are becoming more commonplace among companies and public sector bodies.
Just seven of the organisations surveyed were found to have no written policy on bullying, and three of these intended to put one in place in the near future. Of the 85 employers with written policies in place, 74 had introduced them over the past five years.
Thirty-seven respondents had standalone ‘bullying’ or ‘dignity at work’ policies, while 42 dealt with bullying in their harassment guidelines, and six firms covered the issue within their equal opportunities policy.
In total, 69 respondents said that one or more bullying incidents had been reported over the past two years, while 535 incidents were reported over the past 12 months.
Thirty-nine organisations said that bullying had had little or no impact on working relationships, turnover, absence, staff morale or commitment.
But 43 said that at least one of the aforementioned aspects of working life had been affected by bullying.
And 26 organisations said bullying had had a major impact on staff absence, while 20 said it had had a significant effect on staff turnover The most common forms of bullying were undermining behaviour (such as work overload or persistent criticism) and verbal abuse.