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    <span class=October, 2017" />

    In light of recent news , Peach have taken a look at bullying and harassment in the workplace and how businesses can prevent this occurring in their Company. Here is our quick guide!

    1. Understanding- Do you know what bullying and harassment is?
    Acas gives the following definition: ’Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’. It can be a one-off incident or reoccurring acts. Bullying and harassment doesn’t just occur in school playgrounds but can be part of the overall culture of a business.

    2. Do you know what it can look like?
    Bullying and harassment can look like a number actions such as; personal insults, rudeness, threatening behaviour, unwanted sexual advances and harassment, setting impossible deadlines, persistent unwarranted criticism. Even silence or inactions from an employee may indicate there is an underling issue. Pranks and banter in the workplace may seem like harmless fun but these acts may not be seen that way to others. Are you confident that you are protecting your employees from bullying and harassment?

    3. Do you know the effects?
    There are significant effects that can manifest from bullying in the workplace such as;
    – some may dread waking up every morning for work resulting in depression, anxiety or
    stress
    –victims of bullying experience a decline in low self-esteem and their engagement is reduced
    –high labour turnover can highlight possible areas to investigate
    –increased sickness absence could be a disruptive effect- look for patterns
    –employees may become less productive resulting in mistakes
    –collaborative working becomes fragmented leading to ineffective teams
    –there could be damage to public image making it difficult to recruit new staff or win new work
    All of these can have a costly effect on any business and should be managed in an appropriate way.

    4. Culture
    Develop a culture that promotes positive ways of dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace. Deal with situations promptly, seriously and discreetly. Employees will want to be confident that the business can manage bullying effectively. The leaders and management need to lead by example and set the behaviours expected from all employees in the business.

    5. Policy
    The culture should be represented in the policy. The policy should clearly outline the business commitment to tackling bullying and harassment.

    6. Communication
    Communicate your policy to your internal stakeholders as well as your external stakeholders. Promote your business as one that does not tolerate bullying and harassment of any nature within the Company. Perhaps hold bullying awareness days for employees.

    7. Training managers
    The policy should also refer to the role of the line manager. Managers have a key role and therefore should be trained to recognise the signs of bullying and harassment and know how to deal with it. Do they understand the Company’s grievance process? Managers should feel that they are supported by the company to tackle serious situations. Ensure managers are clear of their responsibilities and are aware of possible actions that could lead to harassment.

    8. Mediation
    Before going down any formal route consideration should be taken to whether mediation could be the way to resolve the situation. Employees should be encouraged to approach their line manager on an informal basis. Managers may wish to seek support from the Company’s more specialist advisors such as HR or external trained mediators.

    9. Formal procedure
    If the situation has not been resolved informally employees may wish to go down a more formal process. Do you have a grievance procedure in place? Is it fully up to date? Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment – they’re liable for any harassment suffered by their employees. Ensure that your employees are aware of what to do in a situation where they feel bullied or harassed. The situation should start with as with all grievances with an investigation into the situation with consideration taken into account of the confidential and sensitive circumstances.

    10. Get advice!
    It is important to recognise that if the situation is very serious and a formal procedure has started, seek legal advice.

    Is there a culture of bullying in your workplace? If so, one of our HR Specialists will be happy to hear from you and advise on your Company’s situation. We also have trained mediators to support businesses that may be able to support any ongoing concern you have. Contact Peach on 0161 478 3800 or via email at hello@peachlaw.co.uk.

    At Peach we take Mental Health very seriously and we welcome the findings from the Stevenson/Farmer review.

    We have extensive experience supporting employees and employers managing complex and often challenging mental health issues and our recommendations for our clients have always had employees mental health at the forefront.

    The cost of not managing employees mental health is staggering, with the cost to employers totalling up to £42 billion which includes presenteeism, sickness absence and staff turnover.

    The report focuses on reducing the stigma that is attached to mental health and to open lines of communication. There are 40 recommendations put forward in the review, including adopting mental health core standards which provides businesses (big or small) a framework to work towards. This includes;
    1. Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
    2. Develop mental health awareness among employees
    3. Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
    4. Provide your employees with good working conditions
    5. Promote effective people management
    6. Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.

    Additional recommendations are;
    • public sector, and private sector employers with over 500 employees, should take additional steps, again set out in the report;
    • employers should be encouraged by legislation to report publicly on their workforce’s mental health;
    • professional bodies should implement training and support measures for their employer members.

    Click HERE for the full report.

    We would be very interested in hearing from those who have struggled with their own mental health in the workplace or those who manage employees who have mental health issues. You can contact us for a confidential chat on 0161 478 3800 or email hello@peachlaw.co.uk.

    Data Protection/GDPR – what to do now and what’s changing!!

    A review of the things that should be happening now, the things to do to prepare for the changes and what will happen in the future. The session is designed to provide some clear guidance to allow businesses to consider the next steps for them in a logical manner.

    8.15am – 8:30am: Breakfast/Networking
    8:30am – Talk and questions

    Speakers;
    Greg Walsh, Barrister
    Lindsey Bell, Employment Lawyer and Managing Director, Peach Law Limited

    REGISTER HERE!

    As it is World Mental Health Day we look at what you as a business can do to support employees.

    Did you know that 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health? It is an important issue that struggles to get talked about due to the stigma attached to it.

    Here at Peach we have put together top 5 tips on managing wellbeing in the workplace.

    1. Embed a wellness culture.
    Employee health and wellbeing should be high on the agenda. There should be no shame in talking about mental health. Think about health and wellbeing programmes where employees can voice their ideas and are listened to. Employees should not be discriminated against should they have a mental illness.

    2. Training
    Management training as well as Company-wide training would further show the company’s commitment to tackling health and wellbeing. Training on stress management techniques will encourage employees to recognise their own stress levels and support in managing it themselves. We would advise businesses to train managers in spotting signs including increase in absence, poor performance or moody behaviour and monitoring these behaviours.

    3. Influence from Managers
    Managers have a great influence on the wellbeing of employees, factors could include; workload, work variety, work relationships, involvement, communication, spot signs of bullying, sense of purpose and stress. Businesses should support Managers in managing in times of change and challenge to reduce the negative effect that it may have. Managing this effectively can increase employee engagement.

    4. Initiatives
    There are plenty of initiatives that businesses can adopt to support employees’ wellbeing such as;
    • Promoting healthy eating,
    • Encouraging employees to take their entitled breaks- it can be too easy to work through lunch,
    • Promote exercise- walking around at lunch time, cycle to work schemes, gym memberships,
    • Employee assistance programmes can provide counselling and advice,
    • Promoting work/life balance- flexible working.

    5. Communication
    Communication is paramount. However, do not push an employee to talk about something that they are clearly uncomfortable with. Offer them options and be available when they are ready.
    When businesses are going through change, communication can take a back seat leaving employees wondering and worrying about what is happening, is their job ok? Always communicate even if there is nothing to communicate, it is important to instil trust and respect from the employees.

    Would you like support in promoting a wellness culture in your business? We can also carry out an audit to see where certain HR processes can affect an employee’s wellbeing. Contact one of our HR Specialists via hello@peachlaw.co.uk or call 0161 478 3800.

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    Call | 0161 478 3800

    Email | hello@peachlaw.co.uk

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