Bullying Is Bad For Business

Leading Employee Assistance Programme Provider, CiC (www.cic-eap.co.uk), provided HR professionals with the opportunity to reflect on bullying in the workplace at a seminar in May.
By: MAX PR & EventsLtd
May 31, 2007 - PRLog -- Workplace bullying contributes to a total loss of 18 million working days every year in the UK.  This equates to a cost of around £2 billion each year to UK industry(1).   Leading Employee Assistance Programme Provider, CiC (www.cic-eap.co.uk), provided HR professionals with the opportunity to reflect on this significant issue, stressing the fact that within the workplace, bullying destroys teamwork, confidence and morale.  With new bullying laws coming into force, CiC invited companies throughout the UK to join them at a seminar in May addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

"Bullying and harassment causes huge damage to a corporate brand and its employees. 30-50% of stress related illnesses stem from workplace bullying. Work performance from individuals can suffer greatly as they feel unable to operate in such a stressful environment.  From a managerial position, bullying is an abuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine an individual or group of employees.  From a peer, it can be persistent unacceptable behaviour that is offensive and intimidating.  Bullying can often turn into malicious, insulting and humiliating behaviour that diminishes an individual’s confidence and destroys their self belief."

              Kate Nowlan,CEO, CiC

Bullying and harassment can take many different forms ranging from subtle, consistent verbal and psychological torment, to more severe cases when it can become more physical and violent.  It is estimated that around one in six employees experience bullying at some point in their working lives.  This applies to all sectors, and of most concern is the fact that some 75% of those cases identified a manager as the bully. Research suggests that for every victim of bullying, there are around five observers. A TUC survey also revealed that victims of bullying take around seven days extra off on average each year than those who are not bullied, struggling to cope with the consistent level of abuse that bullies inflict.

CiC’s seminar took a developmental approach which allowed participants to actively engage with this sensitive issue. Bullying was brought to life, using the skills of one of the UK’s leading providers of innovative drama-based learning.   Scenarios of various bullying situations were enacted, with attendees given the opportunity to suggest different ways to handle each stage.

Through group discussions, organisations were also able to openly discuss the challenges they have faced when dealing with bullying and harassment and possible solutions.  The biggest challenges that came to light were:

•   Educating managers who are oblivious to their legal responsibilities and ensuring they are aware of policies
•   Acknowledging that bullying is taking place
•   The difference between policies and the actual working environment
•   Removing stereotypes across gender, race, religion, sexual preference, disability etc
•   Attracting more women into male dominated industries

The best practise solutions that stemmed from these discussions included:

•   Proper investigation procedures, starting at grass roots level.  Clear pathways so employees and employers know the core values of an organisation and their code of conduct
•   Buy in from senior management level. Commitment from senior level leads to a cascade down through an organisation.  
•   Staff associations / network groups
•   Taking responsibility and challenging the bullying to stamp it out

CiC stressed that it is important for organisations to create an environment of respect and to welcome people into the work culture. Interestingly it has been found that there is a direct correlation between staff satisfaction and customer satisfaction, so investment in happy staff is well worthwhile.  With the cost of a tribunal process estimated at around £40,000, and the cost of replacing an employee estimated at anywhere between £8,500 and up to two to three times that person’s salary, organisations simply cannot afford to ignore the issue of bullying.

CiC work with organisations to develop policy and train staff including a progressive programme of workshops that include workshops similar to that described here.

For further information contact Beccy Whittles, Max PR:
020 8334 5749 / beccy@maxpr-events.com

Visuals available

Kate Nowlan, CEO, available for interview

Notes to Editor:

(1)   Statistics taken from Trades Union Congress and London Chamber of Commerce

CiC works with companies across all sectors, supporting organisations.  Their bespoke services include lunchtime seminars, developing strategies and policies and implementing training and development programmes.

Website: www.cic-eap.co.uk
Source:MAX PR & EventsLtd
Email:Contact Author

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