by Jacqueline McClure, Genesis Background Screening Services
It is highly likely that you have encountered at least one bully in your life – whether it was in school, in the neighborhood, or in the workplace. Most times they are easy to recognize, but sometimes their methods are too sneaky and subtle for you to discern until you have been a victim.
From merely annoying to downright dangerous, bullies can affect your company’s bottom line in multiple ways. They reduce productivity causing your profitability to suffer. The bully persona creates havoc by lowering your workforce’s morale, reducing loyalty, and affecting your ability to keep absenteeism in check. Who wants to waste time and money with increased HR challenges such as more workman’s compensation claims, employee turnover, recruitment, training, legal issues, and just flat out dealing with the unpleasant situations that bullies cause? With that mess taking up your time, who has the energy or resources to innovate and grow their business?
It may sometimes be difficult to define bullying in a legal sense, but most times we know it when we see it: screamers that abuse and humiliate, two-faced co-workers that damage your reputation or steal credit for your work, self-important people who think they are indispensible, and those that keep information or resources from you that you need to do your job – just to name a few examples. In more extreme cases, you may even encounter a sociopath or psychopath. With no empathy or typical conscience to deter them, they can be very destructive. Often very intelligent, capable and charming – they use these traits to help themselves to rise to positions of power. They have no problem maneuvering and using you to get what they want, regardless of what the consequences are to you or your company.
How can your company avoid bullies and the negative impact they can have on your workplace? Let’s start with hiring practices: develop some questions for your interview process that help you recognize how your applicant thinks about working relationships. Instead of questions that require only a short, canned response, ask questions that lead the candidate to tell you stories about work experiences working with teams. Don’t accept the standard, “I’m a team player” comment. Ask for more details of specific projects and how each person contributed to the success. LISTEN!
Consider background checking to be standard practice when you are hiring. There is likely to be clues that come up in their background reports that will help you make an informed decision, especially information from previous employers. Run-of the-mill bullies may not have a criminal record, but more serious culprits often have some violence, fraud or DUIs in their background. And, do check their degrees and licenses to make sure they are real since sociopaths and psychopaths have absolutely no qualms about manipulating the truth.
Creating a policy that clearly defines bullying can show that your company is serious about preventing this destructive practice and will not tolerate it. Make sure that each employee feels comfortable reporting the behaviors and knows there will not be a negative impact or retaliation for doing so, even if they are reporting a manager. Have clear guidelines on the process for handling and investigating the complaint and what the consequences will be for violators of your policy.
For help with Best Hiring Practices, a qualified Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) can help you make an informed hiring decision. For more information, you can call Genesis Background Screening Services at 866 944-0041 ext 103, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.genesisbackgroundscreening.com