Workplace bullying is on the rise – and that can be bad for the bottom line. Find out why.
A growing number of workers say they have felt bullied in the workplace, a phenomenon linked with higher turnover and lower productivity, according to a report released last week by the online job placement service, CareerBuilder.
Thirty-five percent of nearly 3,900 workers surveyed by Career Builder this spring reported feeling bullied at work, compared to 27 percent who said they experienced bullying in last year’s survey.
Who’s most likely to be a bully? Close to half (48 percent) of workers who’ve felt bullied point the finger at their bosses, while 45 percent identify their co-workers as bullies. Customers and higher-ups in the company have also picked on workers.
The most common form of bullying cited by workers was receiving blame for mistakes they didn’t make (42 percent). More than one-third (36 percent) say a double standard has been used against them and 33 percent say the bullying has taken the form of constant criticism. Less common forms of bullying included a boss who yells at employees in front of co-workers (28 percent), being gossiped about (26 percent) and belittling comments made at meetings (24 percent).
“How workers define bullying can vary considerably, but it is often tied to patterns of unfair treatment,” Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder , said in a statement. “Bullying can have a significant impact on both individual and company performance.”
Among workers who felt bullied, 17 percent decided to quit their jobs to escape the situation and 16 percent said the bullying has led to health problems. Workplace bullying is also linked to lower worker productivity.
Career Builder recommends that employees who feel bullied document the incidents, recording the time and place of the event and who else was present. About half the workers who have experienced bullying have confronted the individual, and about half of these say the bullying stopped. The other half reported no changed (about 38 percent) or said the bullying got worse (11 percent).
Workers who chose to report the problem to their human resources department reported even less satisfying outcomes. Most (57 percent) said that nothing was done.