Yep….. that heading is going to ruffle a few feathers.
Lets break this down. Most business entities have some tokenistic bullshit program in place, to show how much they care about their staff. R U Ok? day posters plastered around, maybe even some Worksafe posters, a nice wellbeing morning tea perhaps. If this is your businesses only line of defence, and you think you are doing a great job, then you are delusional.
Are you capturing the voice of your staff at all levels, or are you just listening to the voices via the line of management?
Do you have a crappy supervision program where the 1st line manager has control over the pen, and is capturing the information that saves only their arse. The staff member has no way of getting their voice heard if the line of management does not allow it. Sure the staff member may have signed, but did they really agree or were they pressured to sign. Maybe what was written was true so they willing signed, not realising important information was left off. That’s a trick guaranteed to bite the employee right on the rusty dusty. Employee’s then get trapped into a he said/she said situation, when the rubber hits the road. Would you believe the staff member of the manager?
Worksafe Australia’s Psychosocial Health and Safety and Bullying summary reveals some damming statistics:
The highest causes of mental health claims is 31% for work stresses and 29% Harassment and Bullying
Females are 3 times more likely to be bullied than males
The occupations with the highest rates of bullying and harassment are:
Public Order and Safety Services
Residential Care Workers
and Local Government Administration
Well isn’t that embarrassing. The organisations that are to uphold our rights and protect us, actually are the worse offenders of abuse. Welfare agencies are also in the top ten list of occupations….. isn’t that caring!
So who are the bullies and why are they doing this?
It’s low level managers on a power trip or low level managers that don’t have the communication, and social skills to support lower level staff reach their goals (often not their goals, but that of their managers) and KPI’s. The powers that be will say, “but we have supervision procedure’s to protect employees and give them space to air concern”. Let’s really look at these procedures. It usually involves the 1st line of management having a sit down with employee. Manager has control of the writing of all topics discussed, that’s a problem in its self. Employees are asked to sign the document if they agree with what is recorded, but what if they don’t. Stiff cheddar, you have to sign any way, they ask if you want to, but don’t truly give you the choice. SO……….. you have a document that has been signed by an employee stating they agree with the information in that document. That document captures information that shows the manger is doing their role, however it is one sided and does not necessarily capture all the good work the employee is doing, nor the real conversations that have been said in that meeting. This document can and will be used against said employee to save the arse of the manager.
If a manager is gaslighting and employee it is very difficult to prove. Managers can give verbal instructions and then deny it in writing. As we can see from statics its not the work that is stressful, its the excessive organisational expectations, bullying and harassment of managers that is destroying the foundations of your business.
Powers that be business……. I implore you to do more. Even if its to save your own reputations, reduce insurance premiums and keep Worksafe off your back. Be accountable, have anonymous and safe pathways for staff to report inappropriate behaviour or interactions with managers. I hear managers crying “But I will be targeted by staff I had to legitimately performance manage”. Yes that is true, you will….. but if there consistently similar complaints about a manager this needs to be explored. If no performance managing has occurred and still complaints are rolling in, this needs to be explored.
Intelligent, capable and loyal employee’s lives have been destroyed by workplace bullying. They go from being coherent, efficient, loyal professionals, to blabbering messes that can no longer function in society. Powers that be, this is on you. Be responsible for the wellbeing of your staff.
Worksafe Australia’s Psychosocial Health and Safety and Bullying summary (annual statement 4th edition 2017, https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1801/psychosocial_health_and_safety_and_bullying_in_australian_workplaces_4th_edition_-_summary_of_findings.pdf