Eliminating workplace bullying is hard enough when it’s only coming from one direction.
© Austin M. Davis
Genelle Payant, owner of Spark People Solutions, shared her more than 15 years of experience in human resources on Wednesday morning at the mess social centre at 15 Wing.
“Bullying in the library is actually not uncommon,” said Jan Smith, director of Palliser Regional Library.
“Whether it be from a workplace perspective or just from people coming in and bullying the staff, trying to get what they want.”
Smith was one of more than a dozen people in attendance at a seminar on bullying in the workplace at the mess social centre at 15 Wing. She was looking for solutions to handling the variety of situations where bullying occurs.
“Sometimes it’s had to be legal (solutions) in the case of patrons, where we’ve actually had to ban them from coming back to the library,” Smith said. “We’ve had to call the police and actually ban (patrons), after repetitive incidents.”
Smith said dealing with bullying, either with employees or patrons, causes a high level of stress. But with patrons, she said she’s “never quite sure what triggered them,” or if that behaviour that is perceived as bullying is just how certain people conduct themselves.
Smith said she benefited from hearing Genelle Payant share her more than 15 years of experience in the field of human resources. She’s going to use references from occupational health, safety and wellness to protect her workplace from bullying.
“I think it’ll help us develop a policy. We’ve not really had a good, solid policy to meet current legislative requirements and I think we do need that,” Smith said.
The library was not the only Moose Jaw workplace that was represented on Wednesday morning.
“I was encouraged by the level of education a lot of the participants already had,” said Payant. “They seemed very in-tune with some recent legislation, what they needed to be doing in their organization and had some good questions about how to implement some things.”
She said there could be many different reasons for why the participants knew so much about the topic already.
Payant told the Times-Herald in an Oct. 11 article that workplace bullying is a growing and important issue for all Saskatchewan businesses, regardless of size.
Sometimes bullying in the workplace — like on the playground — isn’t always obvious.
“In that case, you need to really be someone who has their finger on the pulse of your organization, making sure that you’re visible, you’re around, you’re talking to different employees working at different levels to see how things are going,” Payant said. “That’s where you’re going to get your best information, when you’re informally out-and-about in the organization.”
She said that information could help identify if a bullying problem is forming or has already developed. Most problems go on for sometime before victims or witnesses come forward to address it.
“What employers want to do is try and prevent that from happening and stay on top of that as much as they can so that they can be aware before a problem becomes a big problem, and nip it in the bud,” Payant said.
Follow Austin M. Davis on Twitter @theaustinx.