Celebrity Assistant and Bestselling Author, Bonnie Low Kramen, is launching a nationwide anti-workplace bullying campaign, following the release of a survey which highlights the rife epidemic of bullying at work, and the emotional damage which is costing businesses millions of dollars per year through employee retention, absenteeism and decreased staff productivity as a direct result of work-related stress.
Bonnie Low Kramen will host the launch campaign in Washington DC, examining workplace bullying with a live audience, alongside former Director of Events at the White House and Special Assistant to Bill Clinton – Laura Schwartz, and Microsoft certified trainer to Bill Gates’ Administrative team – Vickie Sokol Evans, who will also take to the stage during the inaugural international conference for office professionals, at the Watergate Hotel, November 10-11.
The survey, released in conjunction with Bonnie Low Kramen, has revealed the true cost of bullying to businesses. Using a global sample of over 3,000 respondents from across the Administrative Professionals Industry, returned business critical statistics:
69 percent of those surveyed had personally experienced workplace bullying during their career, with 67 percent of those bullied having experienced bullying in the workplace on 3 or more occasions; 82 percent of those who had experienced bullying in the workplace has suffered severe stress as a direct result of the situation; 84 percent noted that their productivity level had dropped during the time; 43 percent of those surveyed, had taken time off work sick, varying between less than a week, between one week and one month, right up to more than 6 months away from the workplace.
In monetary terms, workplace bullying results in over $16million in turnover and $8million in lost productivity per year. While this is evidently creating a dent in the financial turnover of companies, the real damage is much more serious, with employees facing ongoing trauma, emotional symptoms and medical conditions. The physical and mental effects caused by bullying in the workplace resulted in 92 percent of those surveyed, not wanting to return to the office, 87 percent experiencing anxiety and depression and 61 percent maintaining difficulty concentrating. Shockingly, the results show that businesses are not taking appropriate action to prevent workplace bullying and protect staff members. Results showed 83 percent of companies that were aware of the situation did not consult with HR, with only 7 percent taking disciplinary action, and 84 percent providing no professional support to victims.
Bonnie Low Kramen commented: “This global epidemic is real, and it is time to take action and the price we are paying is far too high. Businesses are losing staff, productivity and hemorrhaging money to pay absenteeism, recruitment and lawsuits. But more importantly, we have an unhealthy working culture which will only change by shining a light and training our leaders how to take action. I cannot believe that we, in the US, are yet to pass a bill in any single state to protect employees from workplace bullying, given that this issue has been the elephant in the room for years.
“Despite the advanced society we exist in, technology has also opened the doors to online forms of bullying, including cyber bullying, trolling, abuse, yet we have still not put measures in place to protect ourselves, our colleagues, our employees and our businesses. This has to stop today, and if this is not happening at a state level, we need to take action from the bottom up. Through the voice of the workforce, and through the support of forward thinking businesses and CEOs who are ready to tackle issues, and insist on a positive working environment.”
In spite of the visible costs to companies, 25 percent of respondents identified their company as having no official policy or code of conduct when it came to handling bullying, while 44 percent felt their company HR department dealt with bullying inadequately, and 8 percent outlined their company had no formal HR department or personnel.
Bonnie added: “This campaign will allow us to provide businesses of all sizes, with the tools to be able to address workplace bullying, and support employees. Bullying is a problem for all concerned, and more often than not, the bullies are also suffering issues including work related stress themselves. We spend an average of one third of our life at work. We need to acknowledge, address and eradicate bullying and create a happy working culture, whatever industry we are in.” As part of the anti-bullying campaign launch, Bonnie is giving all businesses a free ‘anti-bullying resource kit’ to share with their HR departments and staff. This is available at: www.bonnielowkramen.com/workplacebullying