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Dear Workforce How Do We Cope When Human Resources Is the Problem?

I provide organizational development services for a government agency. I've heard complaints from several employees about a human resource staffer, and the accusations sound like classic bullying behavior. Made aware of these complaints, our human resources director shrugs them off. We have policies against harassment based on gender and race, but none against "equal opportunity bullying." When neither policies nor decision-makers protect people, how do you advocate for change?
September 7, 2011
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Related Topics: Workplace Violence, Safety and Workplace Violence, Dear Workforce
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Dear On Edge:

Bullying is both a potential cause and classic warning sign of physical violence. Most federal agencies include policies that address this. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management specifically prohibits "not only acts of physical violence, but harassment, intimidation and other disruptive behavior" in its workplace.

Make it your task to advocate for the development of a policy designed to prevent workplace violence at your company. Get senior management to commit to the policy.

Drafting a policy is one thing, but you also must ensure that it is effectively communicated--and reiterated--to all personnel. Perhaps emphasize the policy, and the reasons for its existence, during violence-prevention or code-of-conduct training sessions.

Third, ensure that the policy is consistently enforced. Here you will need the active participation of the human resources staff and the management team. It may very well entail changing your organizational culture. Management training sessions that clearly convey the devastating consequences of all forms of (and precursors to) violence, including bullying, should help.

If changing your corporate culture proves impossible, however, then at least offer employees some assertiveness training. That should help them learn to stand up to organizational bullies.

SOURCE: Don and Sheryl Grimme, coauthors, The New Manager's Took Kit.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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Dear Workforce Newsletter

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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