Home' HR Monthly : February 2015 Contents BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
BY TIM BAKER, DIRECTOR,
WINNERS AT WORK
From a business perspective, there's
a great deal of confusion about the
new anti-bullying laws, particularly
concerning the involvement of the
FWC and its powers in dealing with complaints.
Most businesses are respecting the need to stamp
out bullying. They have adequate policies in place. But
their procedures for dealing with complaints need to
be updated. Business understands its obligations to
investigate complaints and implement outcomes, yet they
don't always have rigorous processes in place to do this.
There's confusion about what constitutes bullying, and
business is aware that some employees are prepared to
make complaints that aren't valid.
Building Resilience at
Work, by Kathryn McEwen,
is a practical book
providing a proven path
to self-help in developing
Resilient people are more
optimistic, adaptable and
also better at solving
problems and self-control.
Resilient teams have
similar characteristics and
find it easier to rebound
from setbacks and adapt
to change and pressure.
As this book shows, all of
these characteristics can
Strategies for Sur viving
Bullying at Work, by
Evelyn Field, is a guide
to empower employees
to care for themselves
and colleagues when
faced with bullying
with an over view of social
and emotional resiliency
at work, it presents six
key strategies based on
development of social
skills that can equip
individuals to overcome
even the most persistent
Head to ahri.com.au/
bookshop for more book
titles. AHRI members
receive a 10 per cent
discount on purchases.
"THE MAJORITY OF COMPLAINTS WERE
RESOLVED AT THE CONCILIATION
STAGE. ONLY ONE COMPLAINT WAS
SUBMITTED FOR DETERMINATION."
BLANDSLAW PRINCIPAL ANDREW BLAND
STOPPING BULLYING? START BY
IMPROVING WORKPLACE CULTURE
BY MARYAM OMARI FAHRI
Organisations and HR practitioners should be aware of
these considerations when creating appropriate workplace
interactions and cultures of dignity and respect:
• Bullying is highly subjective in nature. Behaviour that may be
unwelcome by one person may be seen as benign by another.
• A policy or legislation isn't a panacea for all workplace ills.
A multipronged approach is needed.
• Work experiences often permeate private lives, in turn affecting
significant others and society as a whole.
• Competitive environments result in work intensification and
breed conflict and inappropriate workplace behaviours.
• Organisations want to be seen as employers of choice to attract
the best talent, yet poor workplace behaviours can label them as
toxic and therefore undesirable workplaces.
• Organisational history, context and background act as backdrops
and set the scene for acceptable and/or unacceptable behaviours
• Leadership and role modelling play a significant role in the
establishment of organisational cultures and norms.
• Inappropriate behaviours need to be dealt with at the earliest
possible stage, prior to escalation.
• Research suggests there's low confidence in the role of HR
departments in being able to deal with inappropriate behaviours.
• There's a need for the provision of soft skills training such as
negotiation, communication and conflict resolution.
• There are fine lines between managerial prerogative, operational
efficiency, a performance culture and workplace bullying. The
'how' is as important as the 'what'.
Maryam Omari is an associate professor at Edith Cowan University.
one complaint that has been submitted for determination
to date bears witness to the limitations of the legislation.
My research suggests that, in the Australian context,
there's a very fine line between robust performance
management and workplace bullying. The work and
organisational context, the state of health of both parties,
the nature of the behaviour of the alleged perpetrator
and the performance of the alleged victim can all be
contributing factors to the escalation of the situation.
This can at times create a scenario where each party
accuses the other of workplace bullying.
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