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Bullying - not just an issue in the playground

May 26, 2017

How many of you chose to wear a pink shirt in your workplace on the 26th of May?

The CEO of the Mental Health Foundation called on all employers to celebrate Pink Shirt Day and to wear a pink item for the day, in order to prevent bullying. 

The purpose of Pink Shirt Day is to encourage Kiwis to speak up and stand together to stop bullying. A lot of emphasis on this has been put in to schools, but workplaces need serious attention too. As CEO Shaun Robinson says “everyone deserves to feel safe valued and respected…but bullying is a significant problem in our country”.

It is very concerning to note that a recent academic study showed that New Zealand had the second worst rate of workplace bullying in the developed world, with one in five workers affected.

With significant attention being given in New Zealand workplaces to Health and Safety, we need to be a lot more concerned about the presence of bullies and a lot more focussed on actively doing something about it.

Too often it is left to the person being bullied to speak up and do something about it. This is not good enough, turning a blind eye is only condoning the behaviour.  

Bullying is a significant hazard in New Zealand and it can have an impact on an individual’s health and happiness. It does disrupt workplaces and it does reduce productivity as the individual’s ability to do their jobs and do it well is affected. As a business owner, it is worthwhile finding out:

  • What does bullying look like?
  • What is meant by bullying?
  • What should you do if you get a complaint?
  • What is unlawful behaviour?
  • What is the impact of bullying on your business, your culture and your reputation?

Important note: Make sure the bully isn’t you!

In all the work we do with businesses, nobody has ever said to us “I enjoy working with the bully”. If you care about your business and the people within your business, ask yourself the above questions and sort out any potential bullying issues you may have. For expert advice on the matter, give one of our HR consultants a call on 06 757 3155 for a discussion.

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