5 Ways Bullying, Harassment or Victimisation Can Affect Your Business


Harassment, victimisation or bullying is often thought of as a social problem within an organisation, and quite unrelated to sales and profit margins. What many business owners are not aware of is that it can have a very real impact on your bottom line. There are not only legal ramifications. It can affect everything from your corporate culture to productivity. Here are just five ways in which it can impact your bottom line:

Reputation: Who wants to work here?

A business’s reputation is often as much about its employees as it is about its products and services. An industry reputation is created by what employees have to say about working in an organisation. Bullying reflects ineffective management structures. A business with a reputation for bullying won’t attract quality employees because people will not want to work in such an environment. It doesn’t end there. If the culture of harassment spills over into supplier relationships then other companies may question if they want to work with your business. In the end, your ability to serve your customers will suffer, and this will be reflected on your bottom line.

Productivity: How is morale in the team?

Any type of bullying, harassment or victimisation is likely to affect morale and motivation. If it impacts one person, it can impact the whole team. A lowering of motivation in turn will impact productivity. In contact centres in particular, agents are the voice of the company. If they aren’t motivated to help and serve customers, productivity will drop off; customers may be lost and so could sales.

Culture and customer service: Are you afraid to do the wrong thing?

If intimidation or harassment becomes part of the culture then it sets a dangerous precedent. Junior staff may mimic the behaviour of senior staff. This type of culture is driven by fear, which means that people can never relax in their work environment. They will always be scared to make a mistake or even just to ask a question for fear of being victimised. People will only do what they have to and no more. It’s difficult to be a happy smiley voice on the other end of the line when there’s a black cloud hanging over your desk. A negative culture where people don’t care about anything or anyone other than themselves has little chance of translating into good customer service.

Legal: Do you know the average payout at tribunal for discrimination?

While bullying or intimidation are not always grounds for legal prosecution, sexual harassment certainly is. A company drawn into such a case can find themselves engaged in expensive legal battles. It can also tarnish the industry reputation and cause the business to lose contracts if it is a senior manager or director involved.

But it’s not just the lawyers’ fees a company needs to consider. In 2011, the average payout at tribunal for discrimination in the workplace under the Equality Act was £38,848. This figure was slightly skewed by two particularly large payouts, but removing those from the calculation the average was still £15,130. The figure typically increases by approximately 10% each year.

Hiring and firing: High overturn = high recruitment costs

In some cases staff may not want to report a case, they may simply choose to leave. The cost of finding someone to replace them and train them up can be expensive. On the other side of the story, if someone is found to be at fault, the business could then be embroiled in expensive firing procedures.

All of these impacts illustrate that allowing any form of harassment, bullying or victimisation within an organisation can be very detrimental for business. Even if it is seemingly a minor incident, it still has the potential to impact the business bottom line in a very real way.

Don’t wait until it is too late to look at your anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies.

Real Results have developed an off-the-shelf ready-to-go 30-minute e-learning module designed specifically to meet the objective of training all employees on the content of standard discrimination, harassment and victimisation policies and to educate on what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in the workplace.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Carolyn Blunt – View the original post

Published On: 21st Oct 2014 - Last modified: 12th Feb 2019
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