Australian research that surveyed 1528 Australian employees found that almost half of Australian workers experienced some form of workplace bullying in their lifetime. Workplace bullying has been shown to have significant negative impacts on the business bottom line. There is evidence of increased absenteeism and presenteeism, higher rates of staff turnover and high legal costs when cases erupt. It is estimated that workplace bullying costs Australian organisations $6 – $36 billion a year. It is estimated that 5-7% of employees have experienced a bullying event in the past six months.
This research recommends organisations focus on leadership, communication, promotion of positive workplace cultures, empowerment of employees and timely action. Actions that you can take include moving the workplace towards a positive and psychologically healthy one and incorporating workplace bullying into the overarching risk management processes. This requires clear policies and procedures. It also places workplace bullying prevention and management firmly into well-being programmes that include training, coaching and mediation.

Primary interventions aim to prevent workplace bullying. The aim is to prevent factors that cause bullying, alter the organisation’s climate or culture, stop behaviours that can be experienced as bullying in an early phase and improve resources that increase the resistance to bullying if it does occur. A suggestion is to link bullying and the organisation’s conflict management climate together. By examining conflict dynamics and conflict management in organisations, it may be possible to gain a better understanding of the causes, dynamics and outcomes of workplace bullying. Examples are training on workplace bullying, conflict prevention and conflict management.

Secondary interventions aim to reduce the impact of bullying. The aim is to detect bullying as soon as possible to halt or slow its progress.  Strategies are in place to prevent a recurrence, to help employees who have been bullied to retain regular health and functioning and to address and adjust the behaviours of the bullies.
Tertiary interventions aim to reduce the impact of the lasting effects of bullying. The aim is to help people manage long-term, often complex health problems and psychological injuries. To improve their ability to function, their quality of life and their life expectancy. Workplace bullying can result in changing the victims’ basic assumptions about themselves and their view of the world. To make a counselling appointment to speak with your EAP Assist counsellor go to: