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Tackling bullying a work-in-progress for Victorian Government

Combating workplace bullying remains a key priority for Victorian State Government, according to a new report from the State Services Authority.

The report draws on data from the authority's annual People Matter Survey, which collects feedback from around 26,000 government employees across 156 departments.

This year's survey revealed generally positive comments from employees – 94% of respondents said they were well supported at work and 77% felt they could work to their potential. But these good results were balanced by significant reports of bullying across the public service.

Almost 20% of public service employees reported having experienced bullying and a third of respondents had witnessed bullying during the last twelve months. Further to this, a quarter of respondents said they didn't feel confident they would be protected from reprisal if they reported improper conduct.

These statistics highlight the fact that there is no set-and-forget remedy for bullying – it is almost always a work in progress. Government can take heart that a cultural shift is underway – despite the prevalence of bullying, 79% of respondents said they believed that bullying was not tolerated in their workplace.

The key message here is that employers, regardless of their size, must be continually working to develop positive, inclusive workplace cultures that do not tolerate bullying and that provide clear mechanisms for reporting and resolution.

iHR Australia offers workplace inquiries which can help organisations to examine the culture in their workplaces and identify potential risks. An inquiry can take a look at behaviour and tensions within a team which could lead to problems later. iHR's thorough inquiry process will also highlight factors which may be contributing to poor behaviour or dysfunctional relationships and make practical recommendations on how things could be improved.

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