By Morgan Howard
In the media lately, we hear A LOT about bullying and harassment cases; disturbing accounts of incidents and events that have happened to people within their workplaces and employers that have had to pay large fines as a consequence of these events, often occurring without their direct knowledge.
At Employee Matters, we often get a call after the trouble has started, when an employer is concerned that someone is being bullied or harassed or that they’re going to receive a claim for something that that has already happened.
When we get that call for help, we make sure that we have all the information in place that we need. We look at bullying and harassment policies, appropriate workplace behavior training, and other mechanisms. But the best way to manage these situations is to be proactive from the start, to create a safe and open culture.
As Employment Experts, we are here to help turn it around. We help change the culture of businesses and change their communications so that bullying and harassment doesn’t take a foothold. You need employees who are resilient, who can take constructive feedback and use that to improve their performance. They are able to express their concerns with their manager,- or with the business owner, so that issues don’t fester and become worse, causing the workplace to adopt a closed culture, that then leads to these sorts of complaints and issues.
The key to success with this is to have a really good communications protocol., Cconsider the following:
- Send out a weekly update
- Attend team meetings
- Schedule calls or catch ups with individual employees, not just on an ad hoc basis, but scheduled
After implementing a strategy around your communications, look at the other parts of the business and decide how you want everyone communicating. You could introduce different feedback protocols such as a suggestions box, which could be anonymous. You want to create a business atmosphere that’s not secretive, very transparent, that fixes problems and is upfront.
Getting the strategy right from the start
As part of an induction process for new team members, a proactive strategy with accompanying communication pieces can involve the following:
- Appropriate workplace behavior training
- Training in workplace policies
- Workplace consultation
- Performance management
- Professional development
- Succession planning
The message being that your business incorporates their communication model into the recruitment process. “We only want people working for us who want the open communication that has been outlined, and who are prepared to engage in that communication on a daily basis”.
Further discussions with your team
Ensure that protocols are discussed within teams and they know what it means for an employee to receive feedback, and to feel able to give feedback. Then look at a meeting structure. It’s a common mistake to believe that having a number of meetings in the business means that you have open communication. It’s important to look at all the different methods of engaging your team without having the high cost of having them all in frequent meetings.
This communications protocol will lead to having more resilient team members. It’s on business owners and managers to make sure that their team is happy at work and engaged; that they are getting the feedback they need, be it positive or constructive, and that they’re acting on that feedback. You will then be encouraging a culture of increased productivity, high team engagement levels, and open and transparent communications. Your business will have less bullying and harassment fears because the team are communicating effectively every day and any issues are being addressed appropriately.
Employee Matters can help with Appropriate Workplace Behaviour training, Policies and Performance Management and Bullying issues – Why not contact us now?