Bullying is a threat to business. Part 1

The basis of an effective business is people. Well-coordinated work of the staff, a healthy atmosphere in the team, and high motivation of employees affect the efficiency of work. The result of the discord of any working micro-community is always a drop in sales.

The reasons for deviations in behavior are usually found on the surface. Usually, HR managers see the “root of evil” in a decrease in motivation and burnout, and middle managers are looking for particularly lazy employees, whose dismissal will dramatically correct the situation. Unfortunately, things are not always so simple.

One of the factors that destroy the working atmosphere in the team is bullying. This is a kind of harassment that is organized by a member of the team – the so-called “leader”. The pressure can be both psychological and physical. As a result, the victim can say goodbye not only to career prospects but also to health.

For the company, bullying is a harbinger of big troubles: from financial losses to problems with the law.

Unfortunately it is not customary to “tell tales out of school”, so sociological research on bullying in the workplace is extremely rare. However, in Europe and the United States, after a number of scandals went public, they seriously approached the analysis of the problem.

Bullying in numbers

According to recent research, 96% of Western white-collar workers have experienced inappropriate relationships in the workplace. 89% of the victims were persecuted for more than 1 year, of which 54% – for more than 5 years!

,Naturally, no collective can exist without completely avoiding conflicts. High intensity of work, irregular working hours and permanent stress have a negative impact on the atmosphere in the office. However, the situation is slowly but surely getting out of control. Just imagine, in a company of 100 people, 96 suffer from violence at the hands of wider public.

And most importantly: once the bullying has started, colleagues will be happy to join in. In 80% of cases, bullying was supported by at least 5 team members.

Fortunately, physical violence is extremely rare — in 4% of situations. But this does not save the victim from severe psychological pressure, because there is no need to wait for help. Despite the fact that 51% of the companies that participated in the study provided for sanctions in case of incorrect behavior, only in 7% of cases the “leader” who organized the harassment was brought to light.

Such “mass blindness” is easily explained. Victims, because of their internal beliefs, rarely go to complain to higher management. Moreover, it can be extremely difficult to prove your case. And digital tools that can analyze the behavior of staff and record cases of violence are not used in all organizations. As a result, ordinary employees are defenseless from the malicious intent of their colleagues, and TOP management simply does not see what is happening in the office, assessing the situation not based on bare facts, but guided by the common “it seems so to me”.

The weaker sex is most often subject to persecution. Women are not always able to fight back against the enemy. However, among men, there are also quite a few victims – 47%.

The “leaders” of bullying in the vast majority of situations are middle-level managers: heads of departments, leading specialists, heads of departments. It is noteworthy that in 98% of cases, the aggressor does not even realize that his behavior provokes attacks on one of the team members.

The study states: in modern business, there are no organizations that are completely free from certain manifestations of bullying. The question is not whether there are such “non-statutory relationships” in your company, but what degree has already reached the intensity of passions. After all, without electronic means of monitoring and analyzing the behavior of personnel, it is almost impossible to detect the problem.

Financial losses from such situations are very significant. But we will talk about this in the next article.

Bullying – organized harassment of one or more employees, a distinctive feature of which is the presence of a pronounced leader. According to the latest Western research, there are no companies left in the modern world that are completely free from various forms of pressure.

In the previous article, we talked about the general statistics of “victims” of violence in the office. Today we will talk about the numbers: how much does bullying “cost” for the average organization?

Axiom: any harassment means a drop in productivity. For example, a victim who fights off attacks from colleagues spends at least 7 hours a week in vain. And this is without taking into account the general decrease in work efficiency, which leads to constant stay in a stressful situation. Over the course of a year, including sick days (the frequency of which is inevitably increasing), and going on vacation, without which an exhausted employee simply cannot do, the number of “underworked” hours can accumulate from 200 to 400.

It is extremely difficult to estimate how much time the “beaters” spend on merciless harassment, but it is obvious that part of the day paid for by the employer is also spent on such “entertainment”.

The damage in money amounts to about $ 8,800, per victim per year. This is the amount that the company simply spent on an employee who is unable to perform their duties due to bullying. Business owners should not forget about the collateral damage, such as: failed transactions, broken deadlines, endless reworking of the same tasks. Such problems can at one time lead to losses of tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Another problem is employee turnover. The victim, sooner or later, resign from the company. And the memories of the employer will not be the most rosy. For the business owner, this will result in two difficulties. Firstly, we will have to urgently plug the holes, search for and train a candidate for the vacant position. And, secondly, to correct the image in the information field. After all, the anger and resentment experienced during the period of humiliation will definitely spill out on the forums and in all sorts of “black lists”.

You can avoid losing valuable financial and human resources and avoid a number of problems by identifying “non-statutory” working relationships in a timely manner. Do not expect the employee to come and tell you everything. Walking around the office, confidentially looking into the eyes of the staff in the hope of hearing the truth about the team, is also not the best solution.
It is much more effective to use modern personnel monitoring systems. They will not take up too much time from the head, dragging their heads into local scandals, intrigues and investigations. And they will quickly provide objective information that is not clouded by emotions and biased personal attitude.

The first stage of studying the situation in the team is the search for deviations and the analysis of behavior patterns. Sudden or gradual changes in the algorithms of personnel actions clearly indicate the presence of danger. It’s not necessarily about bullying. But if an employee suddenly starts to work worse, he is clearly affected by some external or internal factors. Don’t want to bring the situation to a crisis? Understand the root causes as soon as possible.

The second stage is a detailed study of possible risks. This will help the analysis of correspondence in mail and messengers. Hidden or pronounced hostility is a clear marker of the beginning of bullying. It is important not only to find the “leader-instigator”, but also his accomplices. To identify the bullying cell, «Connection Graph” will be suitable, which will quickly detect active communications between “aggressors” within the company.

The third stage is the study of the psychological state of the staff. Under pressure, any person falls into stress, which can be recorded by analyzing the keyboard handwriting. The threat is not only bullying: all reactive states are extremely dangerous, both for the health of employees and for the business as a whole. After all, they can lead to all sorts of emergencies.
A normal, healthy atmosphere is the key to effective work of the company. Unfortunately, the manager is not an all-seeing deity and cannot physically keep track of all the staff. The only way to avoid financial damage and a number of undesirable problems is to use modern tools for analyzing the actions of employees. Such digital systems, without significant material and time costs, will control all areas of employees’ life, identify a risk situation in a timely manner and nip it in the bud.

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