In the past the answer would have been senior management, the Trade Union and HR. But senior management can no longer be relied on to set a good example, the trade unions have been weakened, so that leaves HR !
Let’s be brutally honest where there is a bulling problem there is also a lack of confidence in HR to tackle it. This is probably unfair on HR. They have developed the required policies on bullying and harassment, there is a clear grievance process in place and a confidential whistle blowing line. HR are not to blame for the decline in union membership nor are they responsible for the confrontational tone set by senior management. However I believe it is the role of HR to moderate the excesses of management especially in the absence of a strong trad union. It’s called Human Resources for a reason, to humanise the work place. The HR role is police the personnel policies and ensure fair play.
There is a strong business case for this view of HR . Bullying is bad for business, any short term gains are more than out weighed by the negative impact on moral, reduced productivity, poor attendance and high staff turn over. Plus bulling and harassment unfair dismissal cases are expensive and damage an organisations reputation.
Bad management and bad managers have always existed. Are they more prevalent today or are we less willing to tolerate intimidation and harassment? Could it be that increased reporting indicates staff feel more vulnerable? What ever the reason HR has a key role to play and that means convincing staff that the organisations policy and procedures covering, bullying, harassment and intimidation are not just for show and that HR are not there to protect management but to protect and get restitution for the victims.
Blair Mcpherson former director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk