Taming disruptive behavior
4. Establish an anonymous hotline and investigation process to field complaints.
Do not make targets of workplace bullying a victim twice, first for being a victim of such behavior and second for reporting such behavior. It is important that employees are able to report incidents of workplace bullying to a neutral third party outside their chain of command to minimize retaliation and discomfort. Many organizations have a hotline or have a position such as an ombudsperson. Whatever mechanism you use for reporting, it must meet these three criteria:
- Accessible 24/7 particularly if you are a 24-hour operation
- Trusted by both the individual making the claim and by those who are part of the claim
5. Record the results of the policy to keep it up-to-date.
Report on an annual basis the effectiveness of the policy, the enforcement of the policy, as well as the resolution of workplace bullying complaints. Do not disclose individual information but focus on organization-wide results.
These five concrete actions to prevent workplace bullying make good business sense. In this era of fiscal austerity, lean processes, and quests for higher productivity, there is no place at any organization to waste time, talent and resources by having to spend precious organizational and managerial resources on anything unrelated to achieving the mission and strategies of the organization. These steps also represent ways to make your workplace psychologically and physically safer for all employees. Beyond workplace safety, a work environment free of harassment, intimidation, threats, and harm is a workplace that allows workers to focus on work, rather than worrying about distractors.
Marty Martin, Ph.D., has been speaking and training nationally and internationally for more than 30 years. Currently, he is working on "Taming Disruptive Behavior," which was published by The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in late 2012. Martin is the director of the Health Sector Management MBA Concentration and associate professor in the College of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago and practices at Aequus Wealth Management. For more information, visit http://www.drmartymartin.com.