While the reporting of workplace harassment and bullying and the subsequent workplace investigation are critical steps toward setting things right, the process and outcomes of a workplace investigation can be upsetting for some workers and disruptive to relationships in the workplace.
While actions and recommendations arising from an investigation may serve to root out inappropriate or even criminal behaviour, often, the damage done to an organisation by the perpetrators cannot be repaired by simply removing those responsible or by imposing disciplinary action upon someone.
Negative behaviours that lead to workplace harassment and bullying often occur over a long period of time before they are even reported, never mind managed. This means often that a negative culture has been allowed to fester which operates way beyond the people directly involved in the investigation.
Often, as the conflictual situation continues, the organisation starts to develop sub-cultures within groups of people that effectively start to work against each other rather than helping them to work effectively together.
This means that the vision, strategy, values and organisational objectives become compromised.
People involved in negative office politics or long term contentious behaviours impact not only their own performance but also of all the people they interact with.
Motivation is directly linked to people’s belief that they can make a difference, add value and that their efforts can positively influence the results they achieve. In an environment where motivation starts to dwindle employee engagement is often replaced by a ‘survival’ mode of operation. If no appropriate action is taken to fix the initial cause of the conflict, or if indeed the conflict is at a management level, people start to lose trust and faith in the leadership team and organisational performance drops even further.
Think, for a moment, about the number of people who are impacted by the negative sub culture that emerges around conflict or contentious behaviours. In doing so, an organisation can easily and quickly identify the cost of such behaviours.