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CIPD publishes latest evidence review into bullying and incivility in the workplace

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The CIPD has published its latest evidence review which investigates the key drivers of bullying and incivility and makes key recommendations to help shut down unwelcome behaviour quickly. It’s paramount that line managers and people professionals have the confidence to tackle these workplace issues and provide essential wellbeing support for their staff.

Interpersonal conflict and uncivil behaviour, such as bullying and harassment, are remarkably common in the workplace. Sometimes they lead to legal action (the UK as a whole sees over 100,000 employment tribunals a year), but there is a far wider pool of workers who experience some sort of ‘trouble at work’.

Managers and HR professionals can reduce bullying and workplace incivility by focusing on employees and their working lives in several key ways:

  • Be aware of the stressors faced by your staff. Those who are overloaded in their role are likely to experience more negative emotions, and subsequently display aggression and bullying.
  • Prioritise designing jobs in ways that ensure staff are clear about which actions to take to fulfil their role, and that the demands of their job are not so great that they cannot meet expectations.
  • Ensure staff feel a level of self-management and control over their working life by providing them with autonomy to decide how, when and where they work.
  • Think about who in your workplace is reporting unprofessional and abusive behaviour at work. For example, if it is mostly female employees who are raising issues, steps need to be taken to consider if there are inequality issues to address, and what can be done to prevent inappropriate attitudes or poor conduct at work.

Organisations should not tolerate any form of unfair treatment. Though some of the reasons for this are obvious (legal and reputational risk, work and underperformance), employers also have a duty of care to ensure that employees work in a safe environment, are treated with respect, and enjoy quality of working life.

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