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How Bullying Behavior Harms Workplace Culture

How Bullying Behavior Harms Workplace Culture

It’s safe to say that no one like bullies.

Chances are, you’ve had to deal with bullies sometime in your life, whether that be in school or the workplace. Oh, you thought once you got out of high school there wouldn’t be anymore bullies? Unfortunately, even as an adult, you’ll have to deal with these unpleasant people.

Workplace bullying is a big issue that should not be taken lightly. Even if you’re not the one being bullied, the negative energy can affect all aspects of the company culture.

Bullying and Workplace Culture

Policies and expectations are an important part of any company. It’s what draws prospective employee’s attention and keep old employees satisfied.

Companies work hard to create and cultivate an attractive culture. When workplace bullying occurs, the company culture is at serious risk. And while bullying in the workplace will sometimes occur -- that’s just the honest truth. You can set your company apart from others with the way you deal with it when it happens.

If it is not addressed quickly and promptly, some serious damage may occur. It’s no secret, people do not want to stay in hostile environments. If employees feel that they are working in such an environment, what do you think will happen? They will leave and your business’ reputation will be at risk. Don’t let the bad behavior of a few people ruin your company culture, force good employees to leave, and damage your company’s reputation.

How to Recognize Bullying

Recognizing workplace bullying can be difficult at times and may be confused with innocent teasing or workplace banter. Below is a list of possible signs you, or a co-worker is being bullied at work.

  • You feel sick/anxious about going to work
  • You are constantly receiving negative feedback
  • You are targeted for your appearance, gender, religion, race, etc.

These are just a few of the many behaviors that can be interpreted as workplace bullying. If you or a co-worker is being bullied at work, speak up and stop it before it gets out of control.

What to Do About Bullying in The Workplace

Confronting a workplace bully is easier said than done.

Many times, people don’t know or realize they are being a bully, and victims of bullying often feel embarrassed about it and don’t want to bring it up. Maybe they think it will go away if they ignore it.

Whatever the case may be, don’t take workplace bullying lightly. Understand that it puts many things in jeopardy like employee effectiveness and company culture. If you are being bullied, or witness someone else being bullied, say something. Stop it in its tracks and make it clear that kind of behavior will not be tolerated. If you feel uncomfortable addressing the perpetrator, talk to your supervisor or someone in the HR department and let them know what is going on.

Be specific, to ensure the bullying stops.  If you have a leadership position at your company, make sure there are steps put in place that address workplace bullying. Help your employees understand that bullying will not be tolerated.

Workplace bullying should not be taken lightly. It may seem like a silly, innocent behavior, but nothing could be further from the truth. Workplace bullying can permanently damage things like company culture, employee effectiveness, and may even result in losing valued employees.


Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and virtual leadership. Her most recent work involves partnership marketing with BambooHR where she has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between employee engagement and successful businesses.

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Tresha D. Moreland, MBA, MS, FACHE, SPHR, SSBBP, founder of HR C-Suite, is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 20 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite ( HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

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