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Bullying In The Workplace

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Articles upon articles have been written about bullying in schools and playgrounds; it is clear that there’s a fight against bullying and whatever motivations it entails, but the cut-off seems to end when teenagers switch their tassels from right to left. Unfortunately, not quite as much has been written about workplace bullying, nor do we think it has been taken as seriously as it should be. Corporate bullying –– however childish it may sound –– is a genuine issue and can seriously affect workplace culture, morale, and productivity.

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines corporate bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or work-interference, i.e., sabotage, which prevents work from getting done.” According to the Institute, 30% of Americans are bullied at work, and 43% of remote workers are also bullied.

Before we get into the effects of corporate bullying on individuals within a company, it’s essential to outline the “types” of bullies that one may encounter in the workplace. In today’s digital age, it’s not the greaser-jock-type that we see pushing people into locker rooms that we have to look out for –– it’s a slew of more subtle behaviors and types that move around the workplace that may be hard to identify. According to HR Morning, some noticeable types besides the more obvious, obnoxious types are:

  1. “The Two-Headed Snake.” This type acts like a trusted friend, but in reality, the bully will take credit for the other person’s work or destroy their colleague’s professional reputation.
  2. “The Constant Critic.” This bully will jump through hoops to tear down other co-workers’ confidence through (frequently unwarranted) criticism.
  3. “The Gatekeeper.” This type will withhold tools or information or collaboration to put down their co-worker.

Like High School bullies, workplace bullies come across as much more confident than they are. In reality, they are just as insecure. Bullies are “so insecure that they have to go on the offense to hide it,” says entrepreneur Gary Vee. “It’s a defense mechanism,” he explains, “and the same may apply to a workplace bully. A person in the workplace could be just as insecure as a school student because it’s a high-scrutiny, high-stress environment.”

 But how does it affect companies and the individuals that may be subjected to a culture of bullying? For an individual at work, it can mean increased anxiety and fear, decreased loyalty, and increased sick time. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, workplace bullying also has personal ramifications, such as sleep difficulties, loss of appetite, panic, and decreased confidence. On a company level, HR Resolutions state that the hostile conditions of workplace bullying become a defining condition against continued employment and can affect retention rates in a costly way. Workplace bullying could even become an OSHA issue, as per HR Resolutions.

 To avoid this environment, HR and higher-ups must encourage a culture of speaking up against such behaviors and making staff feel valued and appreciated. Employee points of view are essential to lock in on the company’s culture, which is why HR digitization is essential –– instant feedback means instant response and quick problem-solving. Wellness surveys, safety checks, etc. –– are all great tools to determine the culture you are fostering. One solution to help the check-in process is digitized internal processes and HR services. With, behaviors like these don’t have to slip under the radar anymore. Without streamlined, effective checks on internal processes and employee performance and wellness, bullying can go under the radar and have tremendous productivity and labor costs. To learn more about digitizing your HR Department, visit