How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

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How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

HR and WHS Managers have free access to the ‘Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying’ produced by Safe Work Australia i . Safe Work Australia is the independent Commonwealth statutory agency with primary responsibility to improve WHS and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. In this guide there are two important tools to prevent workplace bullying. The first is an example workplace bullying policy which provides a summary of the procedures for organisations to follow when workplace bullying is detected or reported. The second is the process for organisations to follow when producing their own self-regulated anti-bullying policy, designed to prevent workplace bullying before it happens, using current Work, Health and Safety (WHS) procedures.

The example workplace bullying policy is reactive and focuses more on what is not workplace bullying than what is. It is designed to show how to manage the consequences of negative behaviour after the bullying is committed. However, the process in chapter two of the guide concentrates on how to produce a tailor-made proactive policy for your organisation to prevent bullying before it happens. What is not in this guide is a complete analysis of the current bullying research to give you all the detailed knowledge needed to put your anti-bullying policy together. For this reason, many organisations find the process too daunting and put anti-bullying policy in the too hard tray, relying on the bullying management policy only to cover the organisation’s WHS obligations. This guarantees that repeated unreasonable acts can cause you legal costs through compliance claims or the consequences of unprevented bullying incidents like fines and workers compensation. The other problem with this practice is that the WHS laws duty of care requires organisations to take steps to prevent injury before it happens, not after. Without anti-bullying policy in place your organisation can be financially liable under WHS laws for workplace injury caused by bullying, regardless of your bullying incident management policy.

Empathyse ™ can fill that gap with a onetime consulting process to analyse your organisation’s policies and employment contracts to determine what you already have in place. They then Empathyse your policies by preparing a new empathetic draft anti-bullying policy and amending your current policies and contracts to work together with your new policies. Finally, they Catalyse your new anti-bullying policy by implementing it into your organisation through standard WHS processes of consultation and risk management. The integration process includes ethical leadership strategies required to create an ethical culture using fairness, emotional awareness and conflict management training to provide the skills required to encourage reasonable management action and behaviour. With their detailed knowledge in this area, they can provide your organisation with the missing specialised knowledge to produce your own comprehensive anti-bullying policy in a one-off consultation process which allows you to get on with your WHS and HR management responsibilities.

Once you have your integrated anti-bullying policy in place, you can use them to prevent workplace bullying through your improved WHS procedures, having identified all the risks of harm and how to prevent them. You will control the risk through your own education and reporting processes before bullying is repeated. You can also monitor and review he process without the need for further specialised assistance. You can comply with all your WHS obligations in relation to preventing workplace bullying injury. Finally, your organisation will enjoy the benefits of a safe, creative, productive and preferred employer reputation.

Kevin Gilmore-Burrell LLB MBA

© Empathyse ™ Anti-bullying Consulting 2018