The Hidden Truth About Workplace Bullying

There is no doubt that Workplace Bullying has been in the spotlight for many years.  With the introduction of ‘Brodie’s Law’; organisations are forced to act after a formal complaint and there are significant consequences for not doing so.  It’s sad that someone had to take their own life for the laws to change.  But are organisations really acting to stamp out bullying?  Being new to the workforce makes you more vulnerable and although many workplaces are free from it (or think they are) – there are some people in organisations who just don’t know how their behaviour affects others.

Bullying is stated as repeated harassment on someone.  This can be in the form of verbal abuse, written abuse or simply making you feel isolated (and much more).  Now these claims seems pretty simple to understand and you’d think easy to interpret; however this is not always the case.  Most bullying occurs behind closed doors so it is very difficult to prove.  Most organisations have a strict policy on Bullying but some rarely ever legislate it.  This may be because of stigma, fear or something else but not doing anything is often what occurs.

I know someone in the corporate world who was obviously bullied   After attempts to deal with the bullying, she went to her supervisor who said it was simply a clash of personalities.  She kept on working as she loved her job but the bullying became unbearable.  I won’t go into detail but it was a difficult time.  Firstly, she spoke to the Employee Relations Advisor who seemed to take her complaint seriously and even said that others had similar complaints.  Then it was escalated to the General Manager.  She was advised to put the complaint in writing and it was here that the complaint became intense.  The GM asked her if she wanted to take a ‘supported exit’ meaning that she would leave the organisation and get paid for a few months.  If she had taken this (and maybe it would have been easier given the state she was in) – everything would have been swept under the carpet and she would have had to leave a job that she truly enjoyed.  The organisation would have moved on and everyone in it would be none the wiser.

So she chose not to take the ‘supported exit’ and fight for her job.  This got so intense that at one stage she was hospitalised.  It was only then that the organisation started to act.

Now I am definitely not saying that this is the case in most organisations (quite the contrary), however if you feel you are being bullied or victimised – check first that the organisation has a policy, keep documented notes (with dates) and try to leave the door open if you do find yourself in a room with a bully (that way others can hear it an witness the behaviour).

Be vigilant and keep an eye on each other – if you witness something – say something – it is all too often people are afraid to speak up for a victim of bullying.  If you do witness it and are part of an investigation – be truthful and don’t be afraid of consequences as these are all confidential.

Stay true to yourselves and others around you and keep each other safe.


The Graduate Job Epidemic

I have to say I am quite disappointed at how we as a society are helping our grads get job ready.  Not enough is being done and students a bombing out for simple things.  Missing out on a great job is disappointing but when you are so young and vulnerable it is worse.

A great example we can learn from (now hear me out) is the of ‘job networks’.  These services support those who are disadvantaged in some way.  I have worked with many job networks to place people and I must say they don’t get the credit they deserve.  They really do help get them ready and I’ve placed many a good candidate using this service.  Shout out to those who I use!  Some of the talent I gained have been excellent.  But this service was set up due to our perception of those who have been unemployed or suffered in some way and this still needs to change (I’ll write on that later).

Just like grads though we are facing an epidemic.  Young adults who have spent a lot of money to study and get a good career.  We push them onto the street and expect them to find their way into the job market.  The job market has changed significantly over the past 12 months and is is very complex.

They way organisations recruit has changed – some opting for experience over study.  This is where we all can make a change.

Organisations – I challenge you to look inside your organisation to find candidates doing casual or a simple part time job.  Are you looking inside first for talent?  I do and have had much success not just from a graduate point of view but succession planning.

Graduates – I challenge you to look at the company you are in – speak to HR about when you will graduate and what you will be looking for.  You’ll (hopefully) be surprised.  It might be staring you in the face!

University’s – I challenge you to get your careers team up with the times.  Get them engaged in industry and looking forward not just in the ‘now’.  I’m not saying by any means that you don’t do a good job but being institutionalized doesn’t help.

Some university’s I’ve worked with through past roles do it much better than others and it creates a point of different when engaging new students.

My fear, however is if we don’t do something NOW, we will have a well educated population with no work.  What affect will this have on the economy – we’ll lose them overseas, they’ll get into jobs that don’t use their full capacity or worse – fall on the employment heap.

I will be preparing a ‘job ready’ presentation with a great university next week.  I’m looking forward to using my knowledge to help students on the right path!

Graduate Roles getting harder to secure

With companies changing their approach to their graduate intake programs; grads need to really start thinking about the breadth of options available for their career.  There is a whole untapped market that grads can get into and it is not the traditional avenue of Graduate Programs.  Think about it.  You are studying accounting and so what do you do?  You apply for accounting roles in accounting firms.  How many of you are doing this?  There is a whole new world of opportunities out there to be explored and it is finding this sometimes hidden market that is critical.  I remember being in the cosmetics industry and we struggled to get good graduates for accounting, supply chain and logistics, commerce and marketing.  Why?  Because Graduates in those fields thought they were defined to their core industries.  Looking outside your niche is what most don’t do and don’t find the opportunities out there.   In retail, there is also a lack of graduates because maybe you worked in retail and didn’t like it or didn’t consider it at all.  But guess what – there is a whole industry out there that need Graduates.  The retail industry is a business – they have accounting, finance, marketing, sales, supply chain and logistics departments (and many more roles that require the skill sets that you gain from your degree).  Oh and guess what – they also need mathematicians!

So next time you think you are boxed into searching for opportunities in a very competitive, niche market think again… go out and explore what’s out there and you will be surprised what you can do.