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Workplace Bullying Policy: Consequences for Bullying

What You Can Do To Create Your Template for a Bully Free at Work Workplace Bullying Policy:

Did you know that most workplaces do not have a workplace bullying policy?  If they do, many are unaware or they have only skimmed over the policy in a new employee orientation or read it in a handbook somewhere.   The struggle most organizations face is creating consequences for bullying behavior.  Does your organization have a wishbone or a backbone?

“When the promise is clear, the price is easy to pay.”  Jim Rohn said that and he was right.  As you know, many times the only thing that will change a bully’s behavior is a firm consequence. And it is important to know that consequences can only be enforced by the leadership of the organization. It is virtually impossible to hold one’s peer accountable to stoping bullying and adversarial behavior – so do not leave this for your employees to sort out for themselves, stay focused on threading your policy with the backbone it deserves with Step 4: Consequences for Bullying Behavior.

Step 1: Purpose, Statement and Examples
Step 2: Complaint – Resolution Process
Step 3: Taking Action for Top Results
Step 4: Consequences for Bullying Behavior
Step 5: Creating Buy-In to Your Workplace Bullying Policies

Consider these important notes:

  1. Last week we left you with: Regardless of the outcome of a complaint, the employee lodging the complaint, as well as anyone providing information, will be protected from any form of retaliation. Management has the authoritative power to be able to support the protection process.
  2. However, when surveyed, 87% of managers, supervisory and leaders said they do not know what to do when someone comes to them with a workplace bullying issue!
  3. Promise + Delivery = Experience.  If you promise your employees a policy that will protect them and that you will not tolerate workplace bullying behaviors, yet your employees’ experience anything but; there will be a disconnect and you are worse off. Not having a policy (promise) is almost better! (But don’t do that either)!
  4. Invest in effective management, leadership and supervisory training on What to do if someone who works for you is being bullied
  5. Decide what behaviors are not appropriate. Make them known in a communication process. Make them internalized with two-way conversation training. Basically, as Steven Covey has said: People must learn as if they had to teach someone else.
  6. Once people are aware, then and only then can you hold them accountable. Without this assurance, you will be more hesitant to have the confidence and fortitude to have ‘crucial conversations’.

What are the Steps? (The entire chapter in Bully Free At Work goes into more detail here: Chapter 10).

  1. You hear a complaint from an employee and make it safe for the employee to share with you.
  2. You ask for documentation or coach them to produce documentation (See page 99 in Bully Free At Work for How To Complete a Workplace Bullying Log).
  3. You hear from the target.
  4. You hear from the bully.
  5. You document both sides.
  6. You bring the two parties together and come to an agreement on future behavior expectations and gain agreement from both sides (this is for the future).
  7. You bring the two parties together and come to a decision if the past behavior warrants corrective action (this is for the past reconciliation).
  8. Decide on corrective action: with documented unwanted behavior that was clearly severe bullying over a period of time with harm to the target, be prepared for dismissal or probation. If it is a ‘personality clash’ then separate the two parties. However, still place the bully on a watchful eye with ‘check-in’ as they will in most cases find a new target.
  9. Communicate to the target they will be protected and notify all necessary authoritative powers of the fact.
  10. There are most likely bystanders to the bullying behavior. Be proactive and discuss the consequences openly, considering a formal apology from the bully to the target and to the bystanders.

Note: If you are struggling here which many organizations do, feel free to contact us for consultation. We take a measure twice, cut once approach and have helped many organizations. Inform, educate, and internalize your workplace bullying and respectful workplace education program complete with consequences of bullying behavior to help with prevention.

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com

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