Company Policies and Bullying in the Workplace

Actual Comments of Why Employees Leave
“HR and Management contributed to and allowed bullying/intimidation in the workplace. This contributed to my decision to leave.”

The Solution
ExitRight interviews include the opportunity for former employees to select from 13 controllable turnover causes that contributed to their reason for leaving. All of the core controllable turnover causes include external benchmarks. For each employee turnover cause selected, comments are requested explaining the reason behind the selection whether the interview is completed by paper, web, or with one of our professional phone interviewers. The comment above was included in the turnover cause focused on Company policies and practices. The commentary provides a rich source of retention solutions that may be adopted.

Workplace bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions toward one or more employees with the intent to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s). Activities can include one or more of the following:

  • Verbal abuse (being shouted at)
  • Blame without factual justification
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done

According to surveys, over one-third of employees have experienced bullying at work. Some of the costs to employers included increased absences and medical claims/costs, lost productivity and legal claims, etc.

Although no laws currently prohibit workplace bullying in the U.S. unless it involves harassment based on race/color, religion, national origin, gender, age, retaliation for filing a whistleblower complaint, etc., a number of proposals are pending in the states.

What can employers do? The following are a selection of ideas for what companies can do to prevent workplace bullying.

  • Adopt and enforce a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy which has the full support of top management. Communicate the policy to all employees so they know the company’s expectations with respect to bullying.
  • When bullying behavior is witnessed or reported, investigate the situation immediately.
  • Treat bullying as a performance issue.
  • Investigate the extent and nature of the problem by conducting employee engagement surveys.
  • Include workplace bullying in supervisor/management training.
  • User available counseling resources such as employee assistance programs.

(This blog post brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight, HSD’s exit interviewing service. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential. Check our blog often for posts like this, to reduce employee turnover within your organization. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.)