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I recently published an article highlighting the pitfalls and limitations of the abuse of quantitative lead indicators in risk management performance reporting.

This short follow-up article is designed to provide some solutions to this problem as it relates to bullying in the workplace.

After delivering a significant number of bullying mock courts it is evident that most companies are struggling to establish a meaningful link between their commitment to addressing this risk and their supporting performance metrics.

After all, it is one thing to suggest you have mastered risk management in this space, but it is another to produce probative results to support this contention.

It is well established that absence of incidents at the workplace is no indicator that an employer has discharged its legal obligations – and this is particularly true when it comes to bullying as most incidents are not even reported. So throwing up figures around lack of complaints, employee retention etc. is not going to “cut the mustard”.

Measures to be considered.

In a qualitative sense, I would suggest you consider deriving some measures around the following:

  • Exit interview responses (targeted questions around knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of prevailing bullying control measures),
  • Staff survey feedback summaries (questions pertaining to beliefs around the grievance process, why they would be discouraged from reporting, actual knowledge of prevalence of bullying, what they would like from a training perspective etc. would be valuable intelligence),
  • Procedure road-test results (“perspectives” of various stakeholders in the process at specific intervals post introduction e.g. 3 months / 12 months – comparing differences),
  • Lessons learned from bullying complaints investigated (HR / Complaints Officer),
  • Staff suggestions for improvement (captured from meetings, informal discussions with senior personnel, training or other consultative arrangements),
  • Improvements made to bullying policies, procedures, codes and grievance protocols (and/or associated training re same) – important for senior management to stay in the loop of progress made
  • Evidence gathered to substantiate that the improvements have delivered anticipated outcomes (first determining what constitutes a “successful outcome”).

Acknowledging this is by no means an exhaustive list, they may be useful conversation starter. 

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