Love our Differences: How to Counter Bullying in the Workplace, the HDI Way#loveourdifferences #workplaceantibullying
“Strong people stand up for themselves. But, the strongest people stand up for others.” – taken from a quote by Chris Gardner
It takes courage for anyone to stand up for what is right, that is integrity in action and HDI believes by its core value LIVE that: “We are passionate about living life to the fullest with honesty and integrity at our core.”
Bullying, in all its form shakes any organization’s core. It is a collective malaise in mind, heart and spirit which, if undetected, would corrupt the whole relational system in any group, community and organization. In any community, group or organization, bullying thrives when there is an imbalance in power of one person or persons over another; it is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. In workplace bullying, it is a pattern of repeated behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to the company’s legitimate business interests. It often involves an abuse or misuse of power. Therefore, the HDI way of addressing bullying is to balance that power. Since power is relative, we break down its meaning of who is in power, and who is not. In the workplace setting, anyone, regardless of rank and position, could hold some power either over time, wealth, people, and other resources. The use of power, when not regulated could turn influence into aggression. HDI wants this power to be used in the right way and manner, to influence people to better themselves rather than enriching oneself through putting down other people. So how do we do that?
HDI conducted the #LoveOurDifferences campaign which anchors on the Core Value Love: Respecting, appreciating, and loving one another’s uniqueness.
This is initiated by the brand and marketing team.
It will take awareness by each HDI employee to understand the existence of bullying in the workplace, hence awareness seminar was conducted to 10 HDI subsidiaries to know how bullying is being felt, seen, known or experience either in HDI, in the family, or in other settings.
HDI Resource conducted an anti-bullying workshop to the employees of HDI Family of Companies to promote a safe working environment with respect for each other. It was also conducted with a purpose to provide information about the forms of bullying, the profiles of its usual victims and its impact to them and to the organization, the common bully personalities and what makes one a bully.
The workshop intends to gather feedback from the participants on how the anti-bullying policy will be crafted by the management, and the creation of an anti-bullying committee. It highlighted how HDI can help the bully and stop bullying in the workplace as a demonstration of its LOVE core value. Bullying occurs because of three players: the bully, the victim and the bystander. These workshops instilled the participants the responsibility to take action to stop bullying witnessed wherever they are and to share the knowledge to their family, friends and the community.
During the workshop, participants recalled their experiences on playing a role in bullying. Some of them did not realize that they had displayed bullying behavior at one point. Some shared their stories of being bullied, how it felt and had realized that they have become the person they are now because of that experience.
“I realized that I am a bully without even knowing.”
“I was bullied by my own adviser during Grade 2 because I am not her favorite or not wealthy. I am always a loser in her eyes.”
“During my elementary days, my classmates used to bully me because of my big eyes, and that I'm a nigger and my gums is showing when I smile.”
“I was bullied in social media.”
“Gossips and rumors.”
Many had witnessed bullying and did not know the extent and impact of inaction against bullying and the seminar opened up their mind and realized that they are supposed to act when bullying is present. Here are some of the feedback from the participants:
• I will not tolerate if ever I will witness any bullying in the future.
• Counsel not only the alleged bully and the bullied, but also the bystander to have better understanding of the situation.
• As bystander, be a mediator and man of action.
The awareness brought realization. Realization brings insight. Hopefully, insight will be converted into an empowering action. The action to stop bullying in its track in any setting, at any time, with anyone is the result of an empowered workplace. HDI wants to see that happening in all our workplace.
The salient feature of the orientation is the evident core value on LOVE: We take care not only of the bullied, but also the bullies. We protect and empower the bullied, confront and implement corrective measures for the bullies, but never disconnect the two from each other to help build a safe work environment for HDI.
At the end of the workshop, we have gathered feedback on the participants’ biggest takeaway from the activity. Here are some of them, and we do agree:
“Bullying can happen everywhere and you can stop it by starting from yourself.”
“Everyone can be a victim of bullying, but it can be prevented by educating people on how to stop it.”
“Awareness to one’s behavior.”
“Change the workplace environment.”
This program was well supported by the leadership team with the creation of a Committee on Anti-Bullying which spearheaded the monitoring of incidents of bullying and led to the development of the house rules on how employees must treat each other in the workplace. These are some recommendations from the participants that are communicated to the leadership team of the organization:
• I think there should be a strong policy for bystanders who support the bully (and sometimes, it has a bigger impact if the bully has a supporter).
• I recommend this kind of workshop to be conducted at least every quarter.
• Quick response or action on reports of bullying. The sooner a problem is fixed, the better.
After the workshop, participants admitted that they are now careful of what they do or say to others, and how they respond to others too. The knowledge gleaned by the participants would significantly change mindset and shall, hopefully, push us to better ourselves and inspire everyone else. Collective consciousness to counter bullying through creating a safe workplace is a powerful testimony that HDI is true to its vision: Inspiring a World where people LIVE, LEARN, LOVE beyond themselves.
As the African Proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” so it takes one HDI family to counter bullying and make our workplace safe for everyone to thrive.