Making Positive Change in your Workplace

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Articles, Workplace Respect | 0 comments

In my last article, I defined bullying and its’ prevalence. More than 50% of people feel they have been bullied at work. To change this across an entire organization, workplace culture must be addressed. The costs of a dysfunctional culture are immense and can include absenteeism, employee attraction, retention, turnover, lost time injuries and higher insurance premiums. Rules, laws, policies, and regulations are not the answer. They have their place, but they will not work by themselves. Discipline and punishment happen after the fact; damage control will not change your culture. Real change comes when everyone gets on the same page and are invested in the same outcomes. Unless we are focused on looking out for each other and work in a culture that lives and breathes such values, the cracks are wide enough for anyone at anytime to slip through. In this article I will focus on five ways to prevent bullying and develop respectful, safer places to live learn work and play. 1.   Engage the entire community If there is bullying in your workplace, it will take widespread participation and shared ownership by employees and employers to make change. In schools, it takes teachers, students, staff, parents and volunteers – everyone needs to be on the same page. No one person can make all this happen alone, so our first step is to identify allies and friends who will help engage others. Simply creating new across-the-board rules will not fix the bad behaviours of the few. 2.   Define bullying Make sure everyone understands the definition of bullying. Learning what it is and when it is happening is the foundation for change. 3.   Educate the bystanders Until now, much of our focus has often been on victims and bullies. But if I am a bully, I am not likely to report myself.  If I am a victim, I am afraid I will suffer from telling someone else about it. The key lies in educating the witnesses to stand up and not stand by. When people who witness hazing on a hockey team or hear sexually abusive chants in frosh week say nothing about it, it happens over and over again. If the same people know what to do about it and act accordingly, it breaks the chain of events. 4.   What gets measured improves If respect, safety and bullying prevention are a clear priority we need to measure our performance against those goals. If no one measures it, it simply won’t be a priority. Organized hockey standards in Nova Scotia and Alberta are a great example. Both provinces want improved behaviours in hockey rinks for the benefit of the players, parents, volunteers and staff. If you have a...

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Respect in the Workplace: Defining “bullying”

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Articles, Workplace Respect, Workplace Safety | 1 comment

In May, I facilitated an exciting discussion at a kick-off event for the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) organization. Prior to the beginning of the session, my colleagues and I surveyed the audience. More than 60% of audience members stated they were currently being bullied in their workplaces. The national average is 50%. Those in the room for our event could define bullying and therefore, recognize it which explains the difference in numbers. Once people are able to define what it is, many (10% in this case) realize they have been bullied or they themselves are the bully. Knowledge is power! So what is bullying? Bullying is a persistent, repetitive teasing, harassing and/or demeaning behaviour that negatively impacts the victim. Many do not understand this or recognize it and not many talk about it. As an example, Anne sees that her colleague rolls her eyes and sighs whenever she speaks during a meeting. This persistent, passive aggressive behaviour intimidated Anne to the point that she no longer felt comfortable contributing to office discussions and eventually she quit her job. Bullying can also be a one-time event that is so significant and devastating that it negatively impacts the emotional well-being of the victim. For example, Tom was physically attacked in his office; he was in a disagreement with a colleague who then threw a stapler at him. Over 50% of workers, from the shop floor to the executive suite have stories like these to share. It costs us money, time, emotional well being and even physical injuries, not just from violence in the workplace but from distractions that cause distractions and unseen risks. How can we fix this? As previously stated, knowledge is power. The first step to making a difference in bullying is to recognize that it is happening. I challenge you to go back to your workplace and consider the definitions that I have laid out. Is there a bully in your workplace? Is there more than one? Are you the bully? Now that we know the problem exists, we can set out to correct it. In my next post I will lay out the steps to making change in your workplace.   — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures...

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