Businesses are constantly trying to achieve high levels of output and performance from employees in an ever more competitive market place. Steps taken during the 1990s to down-size, re-structure and de-layer have left many organizations needing to achieve the same or greater results with a reduced and increasingly pressurized workforce. This situation coupled, in some cases, with negative, autocratic or divisive styles of management is likely to cause a climate where harassment and bullying obtain.
Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Harassment and bullying of any type are in no-one’s interest and should not be encouraged, perpetrated or tolerated in the workplace.
How Training can help
Training can help to create an atmosphere where bullying and harassment do not exist. There are two forms of training, which will help to create the necessary positive environment.
1.Training events, material and solutions specifically designed to minimize harassment and bullying or to process complaints if they do arise
2.The inclusion in general training events, and provision, of material, concepts and ideas which:
· reinforce the right of the individual to dignity and fair treatment at work
· develop appropriate styles of management
· define and inculcate acceptable and appropriate standards of behaviour and methods of dealing with work colleagues
The fact that harassment and bullying are not permissible in the organization needs to be explained at Induction. It needs also to be covered in the Staff Handbook or Induction Pack given to all New Joiners. The emphasis at this stage should be on the standards required and the acceptable behaviours expected. More detail should follow later. At Induction it is enough to explain what is expected and what is not acceptable. The emphasis at this stage must be on the right of everyone to dignity and respect at work and the fact that anything which runs counter to this will not be accepted by the business.
All training courses, workshops, seminars and events designed or provided for employees at all levels should include concepts, precepts and, where appropriate, directions which will lead to:
· an understanding of the organization’s stance on bullying and harassment
· appropriate behaviour
· the encouragement of a bullying and harassment free environment
· good communication
· an open involving management style which concentrates on process (i.e. how people are managed) as well as output (what people achieve)
· managers and other employees valuing and respecting diversity
· skills and attitudes which will enable people generally to challenge inappropriate behaviour when they observe it used towards other colleagues
· the acquisition and use of assertiveness skills
· the understanding of all relevant policies i.e. discipline, grievance, anti harassment/bullying
· agreeing objectives and outputs
Training of Managers
Managers’ training should:
· clarify the difference between strong effective but supportive management and coercive tactics which belittle and harass individuals
· aid managers to create an appropriate working climate to prevent harassment and bullying
· enable managers to check harassing and bullying tendencies in themselves and others
· equip managers to recognize the signs of harassment and bullying before they become too entrenched in the workplace
· inform managers of the organization’s policies on the subject and on related issues such as discipline and grievance
· clarify managers’ roles in learning about and hearing and handling both formal and informal complaints
· clarify for managers how they are to liaise with Personnel and HR on issues relating to harassment and bullying
· introduce managers to best practice in supervision techniques and the skills required to define and agree SMART objectives
· encourage managers to focus on the inputs and processes of managing in addition to the results and outputs required from people.
Training for other Employees
· Related training for non-managerial employees needs to be designed to help individuals to:
· value and respect diversity
· appreciate the personal and organizational consequences of harassment and bullying
· understand the personal responsibility they have for implementing the organization’s policies
· recognize, challenge and avoid unacceptable behaviours.
Training in such areas as teamworking and assertiveness would also be useful for all employees.
Individuals who need further, more specialized training include those who are involved in:
· designing an anti-harassment and bullying policy
· interviewing as a result of, or responding to a complaint
· carrying out exit interviews.
Diane has recently been speaking at the HOT (Hands on Training) Conference at the NEC in Birmingham. Her session, ‘Moving to Distance Learning on a Grand Scale’ was based on our recent involvement in:
· running a series of workshops for RAF trainers at Cosford on writing self-study/distance learning material, evaluating self-study and supporting self-study
· working with HM Customs & Excise Training staff at six different sites to develop six separate distance learning packages, which involved Diane in acting as coach, Subject Matter Expert, contributor, editor and producer of master copies/disks.
Many organizations are becoming more involved in designing and writing their own distance learning material, and if you would like further information about our expertise in this area, or any other area of training design/consultancy, please do: call, fax, e-mail, or contact us by post using our free-post address:
4 Rochbury Close, Bamford, Rochdale, Lancashire OL11 5JF
Tel: 01706 659299
Fax: 10706 353131
FREEPOST OL5480, Rochdale, Lancs OL11 5ZZ