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The Employment Team at Gorvins hosted another very successful (and lively) HR Junction breakfast meeting last week on the subjects of bullying and banter in the workplace.

It may not surprise you that everyone had something to say on the subject on the back of the rich vein of experience amongst those in attendance, with stories ranging from shop-floor bad language to boardroom politics.

What came out very clearly was the wide range of bullying that can take root in any business.  We all tend to be aware of the more “classic” types of bullying but it was interesting to hear how companies have successfully dealt with less common issues such as bullying of males in a predominantly female working environment, the bullying of directors by fellow directors in the boardroom and the bullying of line managers by their line reports.

So what were the main conclusions drawn from the experiences of those who attended?

  1. Organisations need to lead (by example) from the top;
  2. Managers need training in spotting and dealing with bullying.  Just because you promote someone to a managerial role does not mean they are automatically imbued with the skills needed to address bullying;
  3. Make sure your policies are clear and concise. They don’t need to be War and Peace;
  4. Remain vigilant, keep in touch with your teams and deal with issues and potential issues as soon as they arise;
  5. If an employee is seeking to defend their actions by claiming something is “only banter”, the alarm bells should be ringing (for them and you).

It’s worth reinforcing that, whatever the backdrop for the bullying, the upshot will always be the same if you don’t deal with it – the good people will leave and the bad apples will remain.

For more information on HR Junction you can contact our Employment Law Team on 0161 930 5151