Enough Is Enough! Bill Spindloe

enough is enough





Enough is Enough says Bill Spindloe our regular CLO-me.com contributor,

In 1994 the Workplace Employment Relations Survey in the UK reports that in companies with more than 10 employees, 3% of those polled had experienced at least one grievance related to Bullying or Harassment. Fast forward to 2004 and this had risen to 7%. In a 2011 study from Unison, 6 out of 10 workers had reported that they had themselves been bullied or had witnessed bullying in their workplace. 53% in the Unison survey has stated they would be too sacred to raise the issue compared to 25% just 2 years before. The finding had suggested a strong link between the increased incidents of bullying, harassment and the economic downturn. A quarter of those polled believed that staff cutbacks had been a major cause. The economy may well have something to do with these numbers in the last few years, but it does not explain the increases during the intervening years when we were not suffering the same financial woes. I do believe that the increased exposure and visibility to these kinds of events by today’s media and the internet probably means that the numbers could have been a little higher in the 90’s than the surveys would suggest. But, and this is going to sounds odd, as someone who started their working life in the 80’s I can tell you that many of the behaviors that now constitute harassment or bullying did not exist in the same way as they seem to today. It was a very different world. I worked in an office where smoking was allowed, at your desk, ‘ liquid lunches’ ( a drink in the pub ) were a regular activity and almost obligatory on a Friday.  My bosses had no first names, they were all Mr. No one ever attended any kind of workplace training in areas like health and safety, other than the once a year fire evacuation drill,  and there were certainly no courses in areas like communication skills or dealing with harassment.  We had of course no email. We had typing pools and memo pads. Communication was largely face to face or over the phone. There was no Skype, texting, WhatsApp, BBM, because there were no mobile phones and as a result things were a lot more simple and transparent. Did bullying and harassment happen ? Sure. Did I witness or experience much of it? I can’t say that I did.  That has not however been my experience in the last 10 to 15 years. I think that the banning of smoking was a good idea, and as much as I enjoyed the liquid lunches the disapproval of that kind of behavior is the correct one. Although people did get to know one another better in these daily social engagements. I also whole heartedly approve of the bosses having first names and the breaking down of those barriers.  But, I have seen a culture emerge of a lack of transparency, secrecy, where peoples working lives are consumed with the covering of ones backsides. Email trails and transcripts of conversations that need to be filed appropriately waiting for the day when someone will point an accusatory finger. Where decision making and candid, open conversation is more likely to lead to ‘closed door’ discussions about levels of commitment or capability of the individual who made them. As a result people do not share their thoughts so readily and decisions don’t get made. Now, more and more people are taking time out of work for stress related reasons and its costing companies millions, but apart from those internet articles shedding some much needed light on the subject I am not seeing the companies themselves doing much about this. Here is the message to every organization out there who thinks that bullying and harassment are behaviors that plague other companies. What are your attrition rates like? Do you have lots of sick days? How’s your productivity? Have you bothered to talk to any – one of your employees? “One would not expect a victim of rape to have to single-handedly identify, trace, catch, arrest, prosecute, convict and punish the person who raped her. Targets of bullying often find themselves doing all of these whilst those in positions of authority persistently abdicate and deny responsibility.”  – Tim Field- The Tim Field FoundationRegards Bill Spindloe Regional Director, PetroSkills Middle East https://www.petroskills.com/

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