Kiwis like to think of themselves as a friendly, open-minded and accepting nation but here’s
a fact that you might not know: New Zealand has the second-worst rate of workplace
bullying in the developed world, with one in five Kiwis affected by it.
In a recent online poll run by the NZ Herald, 85% of respondents claimed to have seen or
experienced bullying in the workplace. That figure is appalling and goes to show just how big
a problem it is in our beloved Aotearoa.
Bullying is a social issue that has crossed over from the school playground into the
workplace and it can be responsible for injury or illness caused by a person’s behaviour. For
that reason, it is now characterised as a hazard under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The cry is always “Something has to be done about Bullying” and of course something needs
to be done, in the workplace or elsewhere, but answers to what can be done seem
apathetic at least or, non-existent at worst.
Yes, you can have policies in place at your organisation but in many situations, the people
involved are often managers. It can be a case that they don’t understand their behaviour is
bullying. In a results-only culture it can become acceptable, however, affected employees
feel trapped, marginalised or targeted and stay quiet because they need the work and put
up with it.
The best answer to the bullying problem is in changing the culture within the team. A team
that can support each other enough to have a “Courageous Conversation” is a team grow
and build outstanding resilience and self-reliance. The team decides the boundaries and the
team supports each other in maintaining them no matter their rank within that team.
The Courageous Conversation is at the heart of an OPSEC Integrity Training workshop.
Building stronger teams that can hold any member to account has positive safety
implications right across the workplace. Whether it’s helping a victim of bullying, racism or
sexual harassment or, identifying workplace fraud, or even addressing health and safety
complacency. Integrity is the cornerstone of having a healthier, happier and more
Yes, even better…it pays for itself. According to a recent economic study by the University of
Warwick, workplace happiness leads to a 12 percent spike in productivity. So it seems that
people work more and work better when they are happy to be there, go figure!