May 3rd, 2012

Employer Workplace Bullying Policies – WBI Survey – 2012-B


Employer Workplace Bullying Policies
2012 WBI Instant Poll – B

Using our Instant Poll capability here at the WBI website, we asked 311 respondents (98% of whom are self-declared targets of bullying):

Does (did) your employer have a specific policy prohibiting workplace bullying? [It can be part of another policy, but there must be protections for everyone, regardless of sex, age, religion, etc.]

In 2010, we asked the national sample of respondents, representing all adult Americans, if their employers had an explicit anti-bullying policy. But based on the response, we were certain that they confused an anti-discrimination policy (written to comply with state and federal laws) with the need for additional protections for workers against abuse in same-gender and same-race situations. So, we asked the question much more specifically for this single-item survey.

We also acknowledge that new policies are springing up called “Respect,” “Respectful Workplace,” and “Civility.” The names indirectly address workplace bullying. However, they may be useful if specific protections against abusive conduct are included, regardless of the title that diminishes the problem.

Policies without enforcement and accountability for all abusers are insufficient. When special people (e.g., high-ranking bullies) are allowed to bully with impunity from punishment, the policy is not worth the paper it’s printed on. So, we offered survey respondents the chance to make a statement about the existence of a policy by any name and to further qualify the breadth of its enforcement.

Of the original 311 respondents, 38 chose the option: “Not sure if policy exists”

We eliminated them, leaving a sample of 273 individuals who were sure about the presence or absence of policies relating to workplace bullying and the quality of enforcement.

Again, the question was:

Does (did) your employer have a specific policy prohibiting workplace bullying? [It can be part of another policy, but there must be protections for everyone, regardless of sex, age, religion, etc.]

The response choices were:

No. There are only anti-harassment or anti-violence policies chosen by 61.9%

Yes. [An anti-bullying] Policy exists, but not applied to everyone (some are immune from enforcement) chosen by 17.9% — this counts as an employer failure to credibly stop abusive conduct.

Sort of. [The policy is] Named Respect or Incivility, too weak to stop bullying chosen by 14.6% — also an employer failure to credibly stop abusive conduct.

Sort of. [The policy is] Named Respect or Incivility but strong enough to stop bullying chosen by 2.9% — this counts as employer success.

Yes. [An anti-bullying] Policy exists, and is applied to everyone (good enforcement) chosen by 2.5% — this counts as employer success.

According to the customers of internal employer anti-bullying protections, approximately only 5% of employers have adequately addressed workplace bullying. Within the good employer group, less than 3% have the courage to call bullying what it is and to craft explicit policies with credible enforcement procedures.

About one-third of employers (32.5%) created something but either the policy or its enforcement is considered by targets to be too weak to prevent or correct workplace bullying.

The majority of employers (61.9%) simply ignore bullying. In a recent survey of HR professionals conducted by the HR trade association SHRM, 44% said they had no plans to create an anti-bullying policy in the future. Until there are laws, myopic employers may believe that bullying costs them nothing. This is a myth. Bullying is very expensive.

WBI Instant Polls rely on self-selected samples. The survey is not “scientific” in that its results can be extrapolated only to describe the perceptions of individuals bullied at work, not the general population.

Download a printable copy of the survey results.

© 2012 Workplace Bullying Institute. Do not cite without crediting the source.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 12:38 pm and is filed under Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Surveys & Studies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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