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Home Portfolio Administration & HR Harnessing experience to address bullying and improve performance
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Workplace bullying affects not just employees themselves, but the productivity of the whole organisation. Yet it can be difficult to stamp out.
It’s a wide-reaching phenomenon — in the Victorian public service, for example, around 20% of employees report having been bullied in the workplace, a rate that has remained largely unchanged in the past decade. One in four say they’ve witnessed bullying.
But some organisations do manage to make a significant difference, whether through direct intervention with problem individuals, training staff to recognise bad behaviour, or by creating a more open and trusting workplace culture.
A new report from the Victorian Public Sector Commission, Turning the tide on bullying and poor workplace cultures, aims to make it easier to tackle the problem by providing five case studies of public sector bodies that have managed to successfully turn around acrimonious work environments.
“With bullying, it’s not hard to focus exclusively on the problem. The impacts can be dire for organisations and tragic for individuals, and our understanding of the issue is less than what it could be,” said Damian West, deputy commissioner of the VPSC.
“But it’s not enough. You need to know how you could make things better. This report is all about that.”
The five organisations profiled represent a range of public sector functions, sizes and locations. The case material is a mix of interviews with CEOs, human resource directors and employees.
Notably, the successful organisations didn’t solely focus on tackling the specific issue of bullying. Instead, leaders understood that bullying behaviours tend to stem from poor workplace cultures, and strategies to reduce bullying were integrated with strategies to improve culture more broadly.
Several other themes emerged from the case work:
“There’s no simple recipe here for organisations to follow, as every case will be different,” West said. “But you can make improvements, and the report provides are a series of ideas and solutions that may help organisations get on the path to recovery.”
The VPSC’s anti-bullying agenda was announced in April. The commission is rolling out a range of initiatives throughout the remainder of the year in three waves: setting the agenda, presenting options and channelling effort.
Tags : Victorian Public Sector Commission, bullying