Bullying has a more significant impact on workforce productivity than many companies realize. An Employment Law Alliance survey estimates 44 percent of workers have or currently work for an abusive boss. Over 50 percent of workers have seen supervisors make sarcastic comments, rudely interrupt colleagues, criticize workers publicly, or exhibit other abusive behaviors. Still, recent research from Queen’s University revealed these actions increase turnover among workers and are more harmful than instances of sexual harassment.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 40 percent of victims quit their jobs, translating into a preventable loss of 21.6 million workers. Companies must become more vigilant about workplace bullying because many victims remain silent until they leave or only informally complain.
Survey respondents said in 44 percent of the cases, employers did not act on workplace bullying complaints, and in 18 percent of the cases, the employer’s actions made things worse for the victim.
Star performers who bully should be kept in line regardless of their productivity level, say experts, and companies must cultivate a civilized workplace from within and by leaders exhibiting acceptable behaviors. Workers also need alternate avenues of reporting bullying incidents, separate from supervisors, and workers should feel comfortable calling out supervisors and others engaging in aggressive behaviors. All investigations and complaint processes should be well-documented.
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