Workplace bullying is more common than many think—in fact, it affects more than 65 million workers in the United States alone. It’s four times more common than sexual harassment or racial discrimination, and because of that, six out of ten victims either quit, are forced to quit or are fired from their job as a direct result.

In addition to potential job loss, those bullied risk depression, sleep difficulty, reduced self-esteem and higher than normal work sick days. And organizations that tolerate it chance their reputation, workplace inefficiency—even litigation.

Employers must take a zero-tolerance stance against workplace bullying to ensure it doesn’t put its employees, customers and profits at risk. Here are three simple steps to stop workplace bullying it its tracks.

• Step one: Conduct periodic climate surveys.
Workplace climate surveys reveal all kinds of information about a company, its culture and whether or not it has workplace bullying. Questions to help gauge the climate can include:
o Do you feel company policies apply to everyone?
o Is management approachable?
o Would you recommend a friend apply for a job at this company?

• Step two: Establish a written anti- bullying policy.
Becoming a zero-tolerance organization is the best way to protect all company stakeholders. A written policy defining bullying and outlining the consequences encourages both targets and bystanders to speak up if a situation should arise.

• And, step three: Provide training.
Surprisingly, in most U.S. states, workplace bullying isn’t illegal. Consequently, employees may be unaware of what constitutes bullying and what to do if they are either the target or witness. Provide training to assist in recognizing bullying behavior and how to take action against it.

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