Bullying and Harassment - How New Awareness Can Lead to Change

"We want to avoid the unpleasantness of last year's company away day."  Those were the words of an HR director talking to us about why their organisation had commissioned a bullying and harassment awareness training event.

Apparently, some employees had behaved in a way that made others feel uncomfortable and HR was looking for a way to raise awareness of those issues without singling out individuals. The decision to order all their staff members to attend a session on bullying and harassment awareness was made.

Personally, I do like their approach and their reasoning. 

Too often, Summit receives enquiries from organisations wanting to run a Bullying and Harassment training course and when asked why they feel that such an event should take place, they tell us "Well, better safe than sorry.", "Some of our employees are very sensitive."  Or my recent favourite "Our customers are quite diverse and difficult and we want to learn how to communicate without insulting them."

Bullying and harassment are behaviours that should never happen in a professional working environment. But sometimes they do!  And yet, many organisations find it difficult to deal with such instances, because they either don't realise that such behaviours are occurring, are potentially illegal or they are turning a blind eye, because "things have always been this way".  That old chestnut of ‘Culture’ is often used to justify inaction and ambivalence towards this subject.  Sometimes they also don't have any rules on how to deal with bullying or harassment.  Small businesses just chug along and hope problems just don't occur.

Bullying and harassment awareness trainings are actually a mix of learning about the legal aspects of the subject and what English Law expects you as an employee to do and not do, as well as the organisation; and learning about your own communication preferences, your potential prejudices and blind spots and ways to enhance your personal impact so it is healthier, predictable and of course, reasonably acceptable.

And, according to our feedback, they can be very insightful, while being very enjoyable and leading to excellent results in awareness and behavioural changes.

When we talked to the HR director who was mentioned earlier about any feedback from the bullying and harassment training courses Summit had delivered, she proudly stated that before a company away day, one of the team leaders stood up in front of everyone and said "People, let's have fun today. At the same time, please remember that we all are ambassadors for our company, as well as trusted colleagues. Enjoy the day!”

Bullying and Harassment training courses have a hard message to deliver, but they can be great fun too.  Find out more about Summit training courses here.

Posted by on September 11, 2018

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