The High Cost of Workplace Bullying: Witnesses Jump Ship


The High Cost of Workplace Bullying: Witnesses Jump Ship

It seems that every day there is another story about workplace bullying, covering everything from root causes to outrageous costs of employee turnover, healthcare and now even litigation. But most of these articles are focused on the perpetrators and the victims: the people using bullying behaviors and the targets of those behaviors.

But, what about those who are around these perpetrators and targets? What about the witnesses, the people who have to sit in their cubicles or in their boardrooms and witness the relentless and humiliating assaults that can come from abrasive and aggressive attacks?

Well, they suffer too. Recent research documents the high costs of workplace bullying on employers. They are now losing their best and brightest that are neither perpetrators or targets—the future leaders of the company. Those people who don’t want to witness the abuse and don’t want to become embroiled in office politics by trying to fight the abuses. They are walking away. Even in this economy they are moving on. In fact, the study suggests that they are more likely to quit than the targets of bullying themselves.

In a recent article in the Huffington Post it was noted that upwards of 36% of the workforce will experience workplace bullying and abrasive behaviors at work. If each instance creates even one witness, and they don’t want to deal with it, then we are talking about significant turnover and significant costs. They want to move on. This translates into billions of dollars for employers in lost productivity, the exponential costs of replacing employees and lost emerging talent.

What’s an employer to do? Respond appropriately and effectively beginning with assessments, then moving toward solutions and then implementing them.

For more information, contact me.

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.

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