The Pulse – February 2023

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Your monthly HR newsletter for busy business owners

Let’s stop bullying in your workplace, today!

A sad young woman stands in the foreground whilst two other women are laughing at her behind her back.

“There is no bullying in my workplace,” I hear you cry.

Well good. That’s exactly what I like to hear.

But what are you doing to ensure that remains the case? Because unless you are taking proactive, preventative steps, bullying can become a big problem very quickly in any workplace.

And it’s not always easy to spot the early warning signs and stamp it out, either.

That’s because often, bullying can take place through micro-aggressions from a manager to a subordinate. It might be happening online – on social media or even via your workplace collaboration apps. It may even be the case that bullying is taking place outside of work hours. And yes, that does still make it your responsibility.

What makes tackling bullying a little trickier, is the fact that there’s no legal definition of what constitutes workplace bullying. Likewise, there’s no legislation that clearly outlines how it should be dealt with.

That means you must have clear policies in place that highlight your stance on bullying, the behaviours that will not be tolerated, and the consequences if anyone should be found guilty of bullying in your business.

That’s not the only preventative measure you can take. In fact, there are a few different things you can do to reinforce the message that your business doesn’t stand for bullying of any description. That includes things that will help to shape your company culture to make sure that everyone takes the same hard stance on bullying, and feels confident and justified in reporting any situation, knowing that their complaint will be taken seriously.

And that also means that you and your managers must understand exactly how to react to any report of bullying, and the right steps to follow to make sure a complaint is handled sensitively, correctly, and fairly.

Sounds like a lot to think about, doesn’t it?

That’s ok. I’ve written a new guide that tells you how to stop bullying in your business. It explains all the above in detail and should leave you understanding exactly what you need to do to make sure bullying never becomes a big issue for your company.

Get your free copy today by visiting here.

Latest news

2 in 5 workers with less visible disabilities haven’t disclosed it to their employer

A new study has found that 43% of people with less visible disabilities haven’t told their employer about it.

That’s because they feel they won’t be believed, or they think it may harm their career prospects.

This leads to increased presenteeism, giving false reasons for taking time off, and using holiday for medical appointments.

A new bill could place duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work

There’s a new duty on employers to take reasonable steps to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, and it will be enforceable by the equality regulator, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The bill also means that an organisation will be liable if a third-party harasses an employee during the course of their employment, if the employer has failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent the third-party from doing so.

Only two fifths of employers conduct annual engagement surveys, instead, businesses are opting to gain employee feedback more regularly

More than 30 million working days were lost to work-related ill health last year

A sick employee blowing his nose at home on the sofa with a duvet wrapped around him.

That could spell trouble for your business.

This type of absence cost the UK £11.2 billion between 2019 and 2020, and that figure is only set to rise year on year.

The main cause of this absence? It’s stress, depression, and anxiety. And as you may know, your business can have a big impact on the onset and development of these conditions.

So, what can you do to help make sure your business doesn’t suffer from excessive unplanned absence this year and beyond?

If you don’t already, look at how you actively encourage good mental health and wellbeing practices in your company. For example, do you ensure people take regular breaks? Are your managers good at spotting the early signs of stress and careful not to place too much pressure on their teams? Do you make recommendations for healthier lifestyles or even help to subsidise things like gym memberships or other fitness pursuits?

How approachable are you and your managers if an employee wanted to raise a concern or have a confidential conversation? Do you have an open-door policy, or is it difficult for someone to arrange a private chat with a senior member of staff?

What do you offer in the way of support for employees who may be struggling? Do you have resources available for people to locate the right support network if they have an issue? Can you help with the cost of counselling, or do you offer any employment benefits that cover this?

It’s a good time to look at things like this now. Although some of these suggestions cost the business a little, in the long run they may help to save you money because they can help reduce issues that lead to excess absence.

If you’d like to have a conversation about how your business can reduce employee absence this year, or anything else for that matter, we’d love to help. Just give us a call!


How many times can someone be sick before I can dismiss them?

This is a big fat grey area in business. It all depends on the type of sickness, whether it’s long-term sickness or a pattern of absence, and the cause of sickness too. I would highly recommend expert advice before you take any action

I don’t think my employees are working from home as much as they should be – what can I do?

Before you launch into full-blown monitoring, talk to your people, and find out how they feel about their productivity.  Perhaps morning and afternoon catch-up meetings could help them be more accountable. Or maybe the tools and systems they’re using aren’t suitable for remote work.

What’s the best way to motivate my employees?

Ask them! Everyone has different motivations, whether that’s praise, incentives like time off or vouchers, or even working towards a big universal goal. Speak to your team and listen to their ideas.

That’s all for now!

We hope you found the newsletter informative, look out or the next one in March. If you’d like to download a copy for your managers click here.

Keep in touch and have a great month.