Results of a 2 year study* of 4000 British workers have shown that 40% felt they had been treated with denigration and disrespect.
- 23.6% had been shouted at or had someone lose their temper with them
- 24% had felt intimidated or threatened at work
- 11% felt that they had experienced teasing, jokes or sarcasm which had gone too far
- 15% had been humiliated or ridiculed in connection with their work or received signals from others that they should quit their job.
Even more worrying is that employers, managers or supervisors were responsible for 4 out of every 10 of these incidents.
The typical employee on the receiving end of incivility and disrespect was:
- more likely to be a man
- less likely to be from a black or minority ethnic community (and particularly Asian)
- more likely to be Christian
- more likely to be born in the UK
- more likely to be those in the middle of their careers.
Those surveyed who admitted to being perpetrators of incivility and disrespect tended to be men, white, more likely to be Christian, born in the UK, aged 16-35, and more likely to have a degree.
Most employers will have in place policies aimed at improving the culture of the workplace in some way, whether that be grievance policies or dignity at work policies but the study showed that when managers were accused of ill-treatment they covered up for one another. Even if they didn’t close ranks, company policies were applied less diligently. This was borne out by employees who were interviewed saying that they were scared to rock the boat and to draw attention to themselves by making a complaint still less one against a manager. They were convinced that whatever official policy might say they would ruin their chances of advancement and may even lose their jobs.
Managers should not assume that all employees, including those with managerial responsibilities will understand what fairness and respect means if it isn’t spelled out to them. If Managers and Supervisors are to be equipped to tackle ill-treatment behaviour in others they need to understand what qualifies as unacceptable and know that they must step in early and decisively. They cannot do this if they are unsure of the standards of behaviour that the employer would like to apply. It is this work that employers must address urgently if they are to prevent staff turnover and the associated risk of tribunal claims.
For a no obligation consultation into how Metis HR can help you to reduce ill-treatment in the workplace call Alison Driver of Metis HR now on 0844 249 1133 or complete our enquiry form.
*Insight into ill-treatment in the workplace: patterns, causes and solutions (2011):Ralph Fevre, Duncan Lewis, Amanda Robinson and Trevor Jones: Cardiff and Plymouth Universities