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When you start your business and dream of having a team, the last thing on your mind is workplace bullying. But it does happen and as an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that there is a zero-tolerance policy in place to stop this kind of behaviour in its tracks. 
A survey carried out on 2,000 UK based employees discovered that: 
23% of the British workforce has been bullied at work 
25% have been made to feel left out in the workplace 
12% admitted to struggling to make friends in their place of work. 

What is classed as workplace bullying? 

🟢 Gossiping about a member of staff 
🟢 Spreading rumours 
🟢 Unfair or special treatment 
🟢 Exclusion 
🟢 Unfair criticism 
🟢 Threatening behaviour – physical or verbal 
🟢 Intimidation 
🟢 Making someone feel inferior  
And the list can go on. 

How can you stop it? 

I am sure you have heard the saying ‘prevention is better than the cure’ and when it comes to workplace bullying, it is a good philosophy to work by. 
Here are a few tips on how to prevent bullying from happening in your workplace. 
Create a positive culture 
It is important to create a workplace culture that encourages your team members to work in a positive environment. To help each other and work together and provide a feeling of equality. It is important that staff should feel valued and make sure that there are clear boundaries of what is and is not acceptable behaviour. 
Policies are essential 
You should have a bullying and harassment policy in place, but it is not good enough just to have it, you need to ensure that your staff members read and acknowledge it. It is also good practise to encourage employees to read the policy on an annual basis. 

What to do if a complaint is made 

If you find yourself faced with a bullying allegation, it needs to be managed sensitively and quickly and here are 8 steps that will assist: 
1. Listen carefully to the employee making the complaint. Regardless of your opinion on the situation, if they are being made to feel inferior in any way, you need to take it seriously. 
2. Ask the employee how they would like you to manage the situation. At this time, they may just want to make you aware and may not be ready for action to be taken. 
3. If you feel you can carry out their wishes then agree your next steps but if you think you have a responsibility to take a different course of action, explain your reasons clearly and make sure they understand what will happen next. 
4. If the employee would like to make a formal complaint, try and encourage them to deal with the matter informally first. You will need to fully investigate the allegation. 
5. You will need to decide on who will investigate it. Ideally, this should be someone who is not involved and is completely impartial to both sides. 
6. You may also need to consider if the employees involved need to be separated and how you will do this in a sensitive and discreet manner as possible. 
7. It may be that after an investigation, you need to take disciplinary action and normal procedures should be followed in this situation. 
8. Throughout the process, take notes and ensure that everyone involved is kept up to date. 
Bullying in the workplace can be extremely detrimental to your business. It can impact productivity that will in turn impact your business financially. Put things in place to prevent it from happening sooner rather than later. 
Please do not hesitate to contact if you would like to discuss the plan you would like to put in place. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'. 
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