Some 2.5 million Australians have been impacted by workplace bullying at some point in their working lives, and now a major employer hopes that by conducting reference checks on potential young employees will break the cycle of bullying in the workplace.
Bullying in the workplace is costing businesses up to $36 billion a year, and the average cost of serious bullying is $20,000 per employee. To combat these costs, ClubsNSW has implemented a new program called ‘BULLYcheck’, which is designed to protect registered clubs and businesses from hiring bullies and introducing them to the workplace.
Under the initiative, ClubsNSW employers will include a statement on employment application forms which ask applicants to consent to a school BULLYcheck. The hiring manager or employer then has permission to contact the applicant’s high school, if they’re under 22 years of age, to obtain a verbal reference.
The particular focus of the reference check will be on the participation, either at school or online in social media, in bullying, stalking or harassment of a serious nature.
“If students have engaged in serious cases of bullying, cyber stalking or threatening behaviour, then clubs will not hesitate to reject their job application. If you bully or threaten other students then you are risking your own career prospects,” ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said.
For small businesses looking to eliminate this behaviour in their workplaces, ClubNSW suggests they collaborate together to build a similar program which would prevent bullies from bringing this behaviour into the workplace.
“Starting a program similar to BULLYcheck in a specific area is very important, there is limited effectiveness to one business in on place having this program, a number of businesses using the reference check program will enlarge the net to which people may be applying,” A ClubsNSW spokesman told Dynamic Business.
Under the program, a number of anti-bullying workshops are being run by people who were either bullied at school or whose children were targeted by bullies. These are also being funded by ClubsNSW
“For any business that wants to evoke a BULLYcheck type program should communicate their intentions and their program to school before students get to the point of applying for a job,” the ClubsNSW spokesman added.
For my information about the BULLYcheck program, click here.