Archive for the ‘Advice for Employers’ Category


HR put in its place – the “KGB”

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

We recently received the following note here at WBI. Writer’s words are in bold.

I feel like your website is extremely one sided. I came to it because an HR colleague referred me to it however she warned me the site was negative, anti-HR and anti-employer and she is correct.

We are not anti-employer. We are anti-abuse. When an employer abuses as general operating procedures or treats the rare complaint about abuse with indifference, then we oppose that particular employer. We have consulted and helped organizations since 1985, long before our 20 years in workplace bullying began. And we continue helping employers who give a damn about their employees. See here how we help. In court, I even help defend employers who wisely terminated abusers. We like good employers. Hate bad ones, don’t you?

Why did you come to visit us in the first place?

You pretty much tell the person they are being abused and the company will fire you.

We describe the predictable pattern that bullying follows. The sad experience mirrors what battered spouses go through. Do we make targets out of site visitors? No, 97% of site visitors come to us self-diagnosed as victims of workplace bullying. We simply report what over 12,000 targets have told us to bolster the mental health of visitors and inquiring family members. Admittedly, we have heard descriptions of two (2) heroic HR folks from all of those anecdotal tales. You are correct, HR is not all bad. In fact, several progressive, compassionate and thoughtful HR practitioners have attended the WBI Workplace Bullying University training for professionals and left with an in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon.

However, WBI research, based on polling individuals who suffer the mistreatment and not your guess about what outcomes are, shows that once targeted bullied workers face a 77% chance of losing their jobs. Read the study results here. And there is international research showing that bullies do not lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2016) Do the bullies survive? A five-year, three-wave prospective study of indicators of expulsion in working life among perpetrators of workplace bullying. Industrial Health, 54, 68-73.) Targets do lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2015) Take it or leave: A five-year, three-wave prospective study of workplace bullying and indicators of expulsion in working life. Industrial Health, 53, 160-170.).

In another study, we specifically asked what happened to people after they reported the bullying incidents to HR. Doing so proves to be a mistake. It seems, according to the one group who would know how and if HR helped them — individuals targeted for bullying — they were either retaliated against, lost their job, or ignored. On the plus side, nearly 2% of respondents said HR did help. Read the study results here.

This has not been my experience in the business world, nor many of our colleagues.

Those of us in the trenches in the war against workplace abusive conduct tend to share a common wisdom about HR. Colleague and friend Law Professor David Yamada (who is much more diplomatic than I, being careful to never offend unlike me) wrote recently in his blog, Minding the Workplace, that he hears reports such as “HR was useless,” “HR threw me under the bus,” and “HR protected the bullies.” He added, “in the worst instances, HR has actively furthered, supported, and enabled the abuse.”

And dear HR professional, in case you think it is only WBI-affiliated persons who hold such negative perceptions of HR, read on.

From the headlines, you may have heard about the costly corporate liability faced by Fox News for sustaining Bill O’Reilly’s employment. Fox or O’Reilly has paid $13 million in settlements to five of his accusers. One accuser of Roger Ailes won a $20 million settlement.

A central tenet in the Fox defense is that accusers of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes never filed complaints with Fox Human Resources or called the company hotline.

Here comes attorney Nancy Erika Smith who represented Gretchen Carlson in her harassment lawsuit and now represents Julie Roginsky against Fox and Roger Ailes.

Smith was asked on CNN about the Fox defense. Some women at Fox News have said they are afraid the line is being monitored. Smith said calling the hotline is a good idea “only if you think it would be good to call the KGB to complain about Putin.” “HR is not your friend. HR will not help you,” Smith said.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers | 3 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



WBI offers webinar for legal professionals through Clear Law Institute

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

WEBINAR for employers and legal professionals.

Eradicating Workplace Bullying
by Gary Namie, WBI Director
April 19th, 2017 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM ET
Hosted by the Clear Law Institute
Register online

This program has been approved for 1.25 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Clear Law Institute is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1.25 PDCs.

Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers, WBI Education, Webinars | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



C-Suite Rationale to Address Workplace Bullying

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Workplace Bullying for Leaders

C-Suite Talking Points for HR About Workplace Bullying
By Gary Namie, PhD

Assumptions: (1) No anti-bullying initiative can succeed without support from the top. (2) It will be the job of HR to take that message up the ladder.

Here is a list of reasons senior leaders should care. It includes, but is not limited to, the following:

• Workplace Bullying is a costly litigation nightmare. Even though a low proportion of incidents of bullying also have an aspect of discrimination (20%), the public erroneously believes hostile work environment protections apply to everyone. Therefore, too many individuals shop for an attorney willing to either threaten or file a lawsuit or EEOC formal complaint. At the very least, a defense has to be mounted, or settlement paid, or trial and penalty expenses absorbed.

• Recruitment & retention of highly skilled workers undermined. The typical bullying scenario finds the best & brightest targeted for baseless, mindless persecution until they either voluntarily quit or are driven away. This is unwanted, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE turnover.

• A tarnished reputation as one of the “worst places to work” on the street (mainly in social media) follows the expulsion of highly qualified workers. In turn, recruitment is made more difficult.

• Bullying causes stress-related diseases. Allowing it to continue unabated directly contradicts the internal commitments to wellness and employee well being. In fact, research clearly shows the causal role of personalized bullying in cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, changes in the brain that lead to irreversible behavioral dysfunction that passes for incompetence to the naive observer, life shortening interference with DNA cellular replication, and doubling the rate of suicidal ideation. Why should we allow the health-harming misconduct to continue knowing that our staff and associates are being so severely impaired?
(more…)

Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers | 3 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



HR Webinar: When the Bully is the Boss — Feb. 4

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Business 21 presents a Webinar for HR

When the Bully is the Boss
HR must do something about bully managers
When: Thursday Feb. 4 2016, 2:00 pm Eastern, 60 minutes, HRCI credit hour
Presenter: Dr. Gary Namie, WBI Director

REGISTER HERE

Many companies assume they don’t have a bullying problem. Employees get along. In meetings, team members respect each other. But look closer. You might find that the bully is the very person you would expect to protect your employees from being bullied—the boss.
Some managerial bullying is unintentional—supervisors see themselves as “demanding results.” Other times bosses know their behavior crosses the line, but they don’t care.

Not convinced? Consider the slew of new state laws protecting workers against bullying. And consider the number of companies that have rushed to adopt anti-bullying policies and procedures for investigating complaints.
Problem is, most policies are written for peer-to-peer conduct. They don’t do enough to protect employees against bully bosses.
The costs are real. The employee’s health can suffer, causing missed work, higher healthcare costs and reduced productivity. Bullied employees are also a flight risk, as are those who witness bullying. And there’s the threat of lawsuits against the company.

In this session, Dr. Gary Namie will teach you:
• How to recognize and respond to a bully boss
• What differentiates “bullying” from other conduct- both illegal (discrimination) and legal (non-abusive disagreements)
• Why your workplace climate may be allowing the bully to prosper
• Why owners and executives tend to defend bullies
• How to build an abuse-intolerant, accountable culture for all employees, regardless of rank

REGISTER HERE

Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers, Products & Services, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Anchorage TV features WBI affiliate Dr. Lynne Curry

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Dr. Lynne Curry writes for the WBI Leaders Column, advice for employers. See her bio there.

She is interviewed here on Anchorage Alaska KTUU-TV discussing the new City of Anchorage anti-bullying policy.

Share

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Curry for Leaders: No Skin in the Game

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Workplace Bullying for Leaders

No Skin in the Game
By Lynne Curry, PhD, SPHR

Have you watched a manager bully another manager in a staff meeting?

Has one of the bully manager’s employee’s come to you? Does that employee want you to do something and yet expects you to keep her visit to you confidential?

Have you been bullied yourself and now stay out of the bully’s way?

What can you do?

After all, if you remain on the sidelines, you condone bullying. If a manager bullies a peer of yours, it may be just a matter of time before you’re a target as well.

If an employee seeks you out, and you do nothing, your inaction says “you’re on your own” and need to put up with bad treatment or quit.
If, instead, you interview, you say “I’m not your next target” and “I don’t tolerate bullying.” You tell the employee who feels she or he is the target that you care.

What can you do? Ask for a meeting with your chief executive officer. Give him any first-hand information you have. What have you seen the bully do to department heads that cross him? What turnover have you noticed in the bully manager’s department? What have you heard from employees who’ve turned to you?

According to the 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey published by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 28.7 million U.S. managers and employees witness bullying in the workplace on an on-going basis. Regrettably, most witnesses don’t act to fix the situation, because they think it’s not “their issue” or because they fear being caught in the cross-fire. Those at senior levels in organizations often don’t see the problem until the situation explodes because many bullies kiss up and kick down and laterally. Also, a bullying manager can produce great bottom-line results.

Further, bullied employees hesitate to speak up, fearing they’ll lose their jobs or experience other retaliation if they voice concerns.
If you’re in a management or HR position, you have the potential to raise the issue to senior leadership. If your CEO takes what you say seriously, he has options for assessing and addressing this situation. You can urge him to initiate 360 reviews for all managers, giving employees a safe forum for describing how a bully manager leads, communicates and handles those with viewpoints other than his own. You can suggest that an executive coach work with bullies. You can arrange training sessions on how to deal with verbal confrontation.

What can HR do? A LOT.

###

Lynne Curry is author of Beating the Workplace Bully (AMACOM, Jan. 2016) and co-contributor to the WBI Leaders’ Column to advise organizational leaders about strategies to deal with workplace bullying.

Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Namie For Leaders: Consistency is First Step Toward Accountability

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Workplace Bullying for Leaders

Consistency is First Step Toward Accountability: The Problem with Case-by-Case Approaches
By Gary Namie, PhD

One of the major complaints from bullied workers is the unfairness and inequity inherent in their employer’s approach to bullying complaints. As a group, bullied individuals are very sensitive to perceived injustices.

It is key to remember that if it is an American employer, there is no legal risk-avoidance reason to compel them to take complaints about bullying and abusive conduct seriously. If they treat complaints as legitimate and serious at all, it is because they choose to do so voluntarily.

When a sympathetic, well-intentioned employer does allow bullying complaints to be lodged, that openness is often followed by resolution attempts on a case-by-case basis (CBCB). Adopting CBCB sounds good but is plagued by unintentional consequences.

To employers, CBCB affords flexibility. It allows the investigator and decision maker to take into account mitigating circumstances. For instance, offenders can be forgiven if their misconduct is found to be based on following orders from a higher ranking manager. It also makes sense to be lenient in delivering negative consequences for first-time offenders. How could this be unfair?

From the perspective of rank-in-file employees the CBCB method is perceived much differently. From that view, in the first instance the given orders were unseen. Only the absence of punishment or changes was noticed. Therefore, the decision smacks of favoritism. And if the offender was a department head or director, then it appears the employer is protecting managers. Bullying is met with impunity.Leniency, too, looks like the employer decided to grant the bully wide latitude.

In both cases, employer flexibility feels like employer betrayal to workers.

This is a preventable error.

At WBI, we suggest dropping the CBCB approach. CBCB is the only alternative when no systematic policy-driven solution exists. Create the alternative. If employers truly want to hold accountable destructive workers, then create a policy or code of conduct in which you state unequivocally that abusive conduct is unacceptable.

More important, you must design enforcement procedures to make the policy a living document.

The procedures you create spell out exactly how complaints alleging violations of the policy or code will be handled. Employer responsiveness is key. Regarding the topic of this column — accountability for violations — your enforcement procedures must clearly dictate consistency. This is done by explicitly stating that all procedural steps — investigations, interviews, timelines, notifications of outcomes, and remedies — apply to ALL employees at ALL levels. The antithesis of CBCB is a consistent application of the rules.

If you, the employer, want engaged loyal employees, then substitute a policy and faithful enforcement procedures (governing rules) for old CBCB, make-it-up-on-the-fly, methods of dealing with bullying. Your reputation with your employees depends on it.

###

Gary Namie is co-author of The Bully-Free Workplace (Wiley, 2011) and co-contributor to the WBI Leaders’ Column to advise organizational leaders about strategies to deal with workplace bullying.

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Curry For Leaders: How HR Can and Should Handle Bullies

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Workplace Bullying for Leaders

How HR Can and Should Handle Bullies
By Lynne Curry, PhD, SPHR

It’s easy to say HR should handle bully managers. In reality it’s not so simple.

As bullying isn’t illegal, HR’s hands are often tied unless there’s a documentable offense, particularly if the alleged bully is talented, productive and highly regarded by senior management or the industry.

At the same time, while bullying isn’t illegal, bullies expose their organizations to potential legal liability. Those who bully become so accustomed to getting their way through insults or pressure that they often don’t realize they don’t rule the world outside their workplace. When they harass or insult those in legally protected categories, such as someone of a different sex or race, or retaliate against employees who challenge them on safety issues or other legally protected grounds, they may drag their organization into a lawsuit or in front of a regulatory agency. Then, the bully’s claim that “it doesn’t matter that I called her a b—- because I call all men a——-s” or “I didn’t give him a hard time about the safety issue, I treat everyone that way” falls apart.

HR professionals are in in an ideal place to convince upper management to take action when they see a workplace bully edging their company toward these potential pitfalls. They can let their senior management know about the $270,000 Dish Network paid out to a victimized employee fired after he reported abusive behavior by his boss. The jury ruled in favor of the employee when he proved his supervisor verbally and physically abused him and the company didn’t listen to his complaints. The jury further ruled that Dish management failed to protect this or other employees from the supervisor’s abuse.

HR can let senior managers know about the two million dollars Microsoft paid out because they allowed bully managers and supervisors to create a hostile environment for a salesperson by undermining his work, making false accusations against him, blocking him from promotions, and otherwise marginalizing him. Judge Sulak ruled that the tech giant was guilty of “acting with malice and reckless indifference.”

HR often feels hamstrung by the fact that many of the employees who come to them voicing concerns about bullies expect and need confidentiality – even for the fact that they’ve visited HR. Luckily, HR has alternatives that work. They can provide a confidential avenue for employees to voice their concerns by instituting an employee survey or 360-degree review on the bully.

###

Lynne Curry is author of Beating the Workplace Bully (AMACOM, Jan. 2016) and co-contributor to the WBI Leaders’ Column to advise organizational leaders about strategies to deal with workplace bullying.

Share

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Advice for Employers, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



This site is best viewed with Firefox web browser. Click here to upgrade to Firefox for free. X