Ep. 28 - Toxic Workplaces: Preventing Bullying with Karen Maher
Is your workplace culture toxic and would you really know?
What makes culture toxic is different for everyone – and as a small business owner, this can be hard to manage.
Karen provides respected and valuable insight and information through training and coaching sessions to increase compliance, reduce risk & promote safer, happier and more productive workplaces. She places emphasis on the importance of great leadership, being proactive and prevention.
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Karen Maher – Founder Workplace Trainwise
- Managing director and leading facilitator at Workplace Trainwise
- Karen focuses on helping workplaces develop safe cultures – specialising in bullying and sexual harassment
- Workplace bullying and sexual harassment statistics are NOT going down in Australia – highlighting the importance of this work
- Employees bear no legal responsibility for acting to prevent workplace bullying
Tackling Workplace Bullying and Harassment
- Can occur in employee-employee or employee-employer relationships
- For small businesses, employers be clear about values and expectations
- Ensure processes exist such that if someone feels uncomfortable, they have appropriate avenues to communicate this – these processes MUST be known by staff
- Consider broaching workplace culture proactively – continuous communication between management and staff can help ensure everyone feels safe in the workplace
- There are costly outcomes of workplace bullying and harassment for the firm (including low morale, absenteeism, lower productivity rates and more), and mental health impacts for staff
- Employee suicide is not uncommon in Australia and the worst-case scenario of workplace bullying/harassment cases
- Workplaces often look to consultants like XXXX to either become closer to best practice or improving extremely toxic workplace cultures
- Proactive approaches to prevention help avoid toxicity becoming engrained in the culture – at which point, it can be very hard to change
- The onus of designing systems to report and manage workplace bullying is ultimately the responsibility of managers and employers. Investing in these channels can help create a positive workplace culture and protect staff.
Inter-Office Relationships – Are They Ever A Good Idea?
- Different firms have different views about dating colleagues and/or clients
- Navigating these safely requires both mutual consent and respect from both parties, and strict following of any workplace procedures (e.g. reporting relationships to HR)
- Inter-office relationships are not inherently problematic but do become complex when they end on bad terms, and when staff are of different seniority levels.
- Involved parties must take care they understand the potential ramifications of these relationships and ensure to act appropriately.
Top Tips For Creating A Safe Workplace Culture
- Proactively define the workplace culture and communicate what is and is not considered bullying
- Before starting an employment relationship, ensure good value alignment between the organisation and employee. For example,
- Ensure senior staff are supportive of bullying prevention methods – without their support and engagement, cultural changes can’t infiltrate lower levels
- Remember that creating a fun and supportive workplace fuels motivation and productivity – creating a win-win for ALL parties
For more about Karen Maher and Workplace Trainwise, check out www.workplacetrainwise.com.au
ENKE CO – If you are looking for business advisory, accounting and taxation packages, head to www.enkeco.com.au
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