No one wants to work in an intimidating environment. Being the subject of intimidation or threats can take a toll on the employee’s health, career, and even finances. Generally, intimidation in the workplace is illegal and can result in criminal as well as civil penalties for the perpetrator as well as the organization. Every business owner has a role to play in preventing all forms of intimidation in the workplace.
Here are three things an organization can do to prevent workplace intimidation:
Develop sound human resource policies
The human resource department should recognize how intimidation in the workplace affects individual employee’s productivity as well as the organization as a whole. Putting in place policies and processes that treat employees as valued team members can go a long way in creating a positive workplace culture that discourages incidents of intimidation.
Develop a healthy leadership attitude
While it is reasonable of the management to expect employees to act in a mature and civil way when responding to personality conflicts, there are situations where victims of interpersonal aggression like intimidation may have difficulty defending themselves without considerable support from top management. Evidence that an employee is being intimidated by their colleagues or superiors should be taken very seriously for the victim’s benefit as well as the organization’s long-term health.
Create a friendly office culture
Some office cultures and policies may encourage intimidation in the workplace. For instance, if top management indicates that treating the employees harshly is just fine, a hostile culture may flourish. The result: supervisors will continually pick on their team members. While an organization can benefit from healthy competition, a hyper-competitive environment, on the other hand, can trigger incidents of intimidation in the workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace can be stressful. And figuring out how to respond to it is never easy either. Working with an attorney who understands the federal and state laws regarding workplace discrimination can help your organization come up with policies that will minimize the risk to your company’s future.