Bullying at work – the total cost – financial and societal Part 1 of 2

“Courage is fire and bullying is smoke.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli. For non-history buffs, Benjamin Disraeli was one of England’s most important Prime Ministers and noted around the world for his oratorical skills and his strong beliefs – and I subscribe completely to his perspective.

This article is a very large challenge for me to write. Unfortunately, I know first-hand of what he speaks from school, to various work locations and elsewhere – you can check out a blog I did by clicking on this link (http://money.ca/you_and_your_money/ian-r-whiting/) and go back to early October 2012. Recognition of bullying against children is coming to the fore and many new programs are being developed to help the victims and to re-educate, and as necessary, ensure there are severe consequences to the bullies.

What about bullying at work? Does it happen – absolutely and I had the misfortune to experience some of that too – but don’t feel for sorry for me – it simply made me more determined than ever to succeed – and I did!

“Bullies need to make others feel insecure because they are insecure.” ~Unknown

At work, it takes many forms – this is not an exhaustive list but simply representative:
a) verbal abuse such as public pressure to swearing, name calling and public belittling;
b) standing too close in a threatening manner or throwing objects while displaying aggressive behaviour and a speaking or shouting in a loud voice;
c) emotional abuse often takes the form of undermining a co-worker’s results, efforts, resulting work and their professional or business credibility and can lead to keeping track of and reporting every minor mistake or error;
d) character abuse often comes from “water-cooler” or “lunch-room” gossip, lying about another someone else or deliberately damaging their reputation; and
e) professional abuse through actions such as continually finding fault with their work in public forums, talking over them at meetings or ignoring their input.

Bullying is a lack of respect. It is often obvious – as you can see from the previous points, but it’s more subtle forms often cause more damage. It is responsible for increased absenteeism, a lack of workplace motivation, poor performance, employee dissatisfaction, increased turnover and a lack of trust together with the absence of team building with other workers. The financial effects of these consequences are enormous. Productivity always drops. As a result of the pressure on the abused employee, increased error rates are inevitable, work has to be re-done and even the non-abused staff are faced with negative consequences. All of this results in higher costs for the same end result – more sick-time, absenteeism, more stress-related health benefit claims. Added up across Canada, the cost is several billion dollars according to several studies. That cost is passed on to everyone – we all pay.

“Only cowards are bullies.” ~Unknown. It causes substantial damage to self-esteem and the ability to contribute at work. It can also be responsible for depression, physical illness and severe trauma and is some cases PTSD. Bullying is never acceptable in the workplace – or anywhere for that matter.

Ian Whiting

Ian R. Whiting CD, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., FLMI (FS), ACS, AIAA, AALU With more than 40-years of experience in the industry, Ian has qualified 3 times for MDRT, completed LUATC in 1979, the LUAC Financial Planning Skills Course and attended numerous Schools in Agency Management and Sales Management through LIMRA. He obtained his CLU in 1987 while also completed his IFIC qualification and completed his Fellowship in the Life Management Institute with a specialty in Financial Services in 1988. In 1989, he completed qualifications for his Chartered Financial Consultant designation. In 1992, he qualified as an Associate of the Academy of Life Underwriters (Head Office underwriter qualification) and in 1993 he completed his Associate, Customer Service designation program through LOMA. In 1997, he qualified as a CFP and also completed his courses and exams to obtain the Associate, Insurance Agency Administration designation. In 1999, he completed the study and examinations to qualify as a Trading Officer, Partner and Director for Mutual Funds with the BC Securities Commission. As a result, he is also qualified as both a Branch Compliance Manager and Head Office/Provincial Compliance Officer. He served for nearly 18 years with the Canadian Forces (Air) Reserve (reaching the rank of Captain) primarily working with Air Cadets and was award the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) in 1982. Long known as a maverick and forward thinker in the financial services world, Ian enjoys the challenge of learning new material and planning for the future evolution of his chosen profession.