Experienced HR professional and Managing Director of Purple HR, Mandy Fitzmaurice, is offering her advice to help employers protect their staff against cyberbullying.
The most common form of bullying in the workplace, employers must keep an eye out for and address cyberbullying within their teams. According to the Economic and Social Research Council, 8 out of 10 workers in the UK had experienced at least one instance of online bullying in the last six months, with between 14% and 20% experiencing it on a weekly basis. Bournemouth based HR professional and Managing Director of Purple HR, Mandy Fitzmaurice advises employers on how to detect and deal with online bullying in the work environment.
Over time, cyberbullying can affect employee’s mental health, job performance and commitment to the organisation. Cyberbullying can manifest in multiple ways. It can either be through mean comments about colleagues on social media, emails written in an aggressive tone, or spreading malicious gossip and lies through online work chat. Either way, cyberbullying is a criminal offence and it is against the 1997 Harassment Act.
Detrimental to the employees’ health and wellbeing, cyberbullying makes adults feel secluded and isolated in the workplace. Online bullying causes psychological, emotional and physical stress, which will affect employees’ performance in the workplace. For employers, cyberbullying is more difficult to detect than traditional bullying. Therefore, employers must act and develop anti-bullying strategies.
Mandy Fitzmaurice, Managing Director of Purple HR, said:
“As an employer, you have a reasonable duty of care to all your staff members. We, therefore, advise you to stop all forms of bullying in your teams by drawing up a firm workplace policy. This should make it clear that this type of behaviour isn’t acceptable. Another measure which can be taken for a healthier working environment is to organise regular one-to-ones with your employees. This way you will get the chance to identify any problems within your organisation early on and address them properly.”
When cyberbullying occurs, employers are bound to investigate the situation promptly. Mandy suggests that people will often be unaware they were performing a form of online bullying and in this situation, it can be dealt with informally, through private one-to-ones. If an informal approach is not possible, disciplinary procedures will need to be used. In this instance, Purple HR can offer specialist HR advice.
If you have any concerns regarding cyberbullying in your workplace, Mandy Fitzmaurice and her team at Purple HR are available to offer expert support through a fully outsourced HR solutions service. For more information about Purple HR, visit www.purplehr.co.uk.