January 11, 2022 | By Laura Platero
When most people hear the term "bullying", images of schoolyard bullies come to mind. Unfortunately, adults in the workplace remain capable of bullying, and it can have disastrous consequences for the abrasive employee, the victim, and the company that employs them. There are numerous reports of large corporations paying out hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, in workplace harassment suites when the company did not take bully reports seriously enough, and it can result in major EEO compliance issues.
In order to protect your employees from workplace bullying, and your company from suffering reputation and financial damages, you need comprehensive bullying training for managers.
Bullying training for managers is a set of courses or workshops that helps to minimize the risk of workplace bullying and harassment. Bullying manager training gives managers the tools they need to spot the warning signs of bullying, foster an anti-harassment company culture, and implement policies and procedures that empower employees to speak up and stop workplace harassment when it occurs.
Many managers may shrug off bullying training and believe that employees should be able to work out differences on their own. Bullying often involves manipulation and threats that make it impossible for victims to stand up to their workplace bullies for fear of professional or even physical harm. Bullying training is important for managers because harassment in the workplace can cause numerous problems that affect everyone, not just the bully and the victim.
Most workplaces strive to reach optimum productivity, as high productivity rates often translate to more revenue and profits for the company. Employees facing workplace harassment, however, are unable to focus on producing high-quality work, and they may take more sick or vacation days to avoid being in the same building as their bully. If bullying produces a more widespread dip in morale, numerous employees may find themselves unable to work at their highest levels.
Nobody wants to work in a hostile or abrasive work environment, and many people leave their jobs to find a workplace that offers a better company culture and more support for its employees. Training new employees is a costly endeavor, especially when your company has to do it regularly due to high turnover rates from bullying behavior.
Your company works hard to solidify itself as a company that provides excellent products and services and takes excellent care of its employees. Consumers won't look kindly upon companies with multiple reports of a lack of respect in the workplace, and they may even begin to boycott purchasing your brand. Workplace bullying can impact a company's reputation far more quickly than good deeds and quality products can.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issues fines to companies with evidence of discrimination, which often manifests as workplace bullying and harassment. Aside from making your employees feel empowered and supported, comprehensive bullying and harassment training can help your company avoid hefty fines.
If you're ready to invest in training programs for managers to deal with bullying better than ever before, there are generally three places you can find such trainings: by creating one on your own, using online trainings, and outsourcing it to professional training companies.
You could certainly try to put on your harassment prevention program, though this isn't recommended by most workplace culture experts. Bullying comes with plenty of legal nuances, and you must make sure that your harassment prevention training is up to date with the latest local, state, and federal rules and regulations. Plus, if a bullying suit ever made it to court, a judge and jury are unlikely to view DIY bullying training as an adequate means of harassment prevention.
You can find hundreds of online trainings about bullying in the workplace, but these are general courses that are not tailored to your company or work environment. These online trainings are also less engaging, and they don't allow employees to discuss issues and ask questions to experts in the field. Online trainings are likely to appear better in court than DIY training, but they still don't make it appear as though your company put in a concentrated effort to prevent bullying.
The best method is to enlist the help of a trusted HR provider, like a Professional Employer Organization. PEOs employ experts that teach relevant and customized bullying trainings to your managers. These experts can answer questions during training as well as dispense advice during everyday disputes. By outsourcing bullying training to experts, you are making a statement to employees, shareholders, and potentially judges and juries that you take workplace harassment seriously.
Failing to adequately train your managers in workplace bullying can end up costing your company millions of dollars, lead to a tarnished reputation, and make your employees less productive. Outsourcing bullying training for managers is the simplest and most cost-effective way to prevent and deal with these issues in a proactive manner.
Laura serves as the Director of Product Strategy. She is an expert in large scale benefits account management, project management, product development, sales, customer service, and benefits consulting.