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  • Writer's picturekirstiewright

Top tips to stop bullying in the creative industries

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Bullying damages people’s wellbeing, impacts company culture, increases staff turnover, reduces productivity, and decreases innovation. ACAS states that bullying costs the UK economy 18 billion a year. Bullying ruins people’s confidence and can drive people out of jobs that they were good at. Bullying drains creativity, when under threat we are not connecting ideas and exploring new ways of doing things instead we often in retreat/ protection mode. Bullying has led to lots of creative people leaving the creative industries


If you need anymore convincing that bullying needs to stop read this article which details the negative impact bullying has on the creative industries.

bullying

So, what can we do to tackle the bullying issue that we have in the UK?


Anti-bullying Policies:

All companies, productions and projects should have an anti-bullying policy. Policies need to define clearly what bullying is and the consequences for anyone who engages in bullying. It is helpful if the policy emphasises the culture the company/ production or project does want to foster. The policy should clearly state what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace as this makes it easier to call people out if bullying behaviours are spotted because it is then clear that they are breaking company policy. This makes it easier to act.


Code of Conduct

Companies, productions, and projects should take time to develop a code of conduct and/ or include in job descriptions not only the tasks of a particular role but the manner in which staff should conduct themselves. This document should cover what behaviour people should display at work to create the culture you want. This might include how to resolve conflicts constructively. There should also be how to report bullying included in this document. This allows managers to bring up peoples behaviour and how they conduct themselves in reviews and normalises this in procedure.


Reporting

Ensure confidential, clear routes to report bullying. This might be to HR or to an anti-bullying champion. If there is an antibullying champion also ensure they receive support. Ideally ensure there is more than one route to report bullying because it has been found that some bullies do not realise they are involved in bullying. This means the named person who bullying is meant to be reported to may in fact be the bull! So ensure there is more than one route!



reporting bullying


Investigation

Ensure all incidents of bullying are fairly investigated. This means allowing both sides to have a say and trying to mitigate any divisions this may cause in the team. Consult HR if available.


Training

Ensure training on all aspects of how to ensure a positive culture at work. This can include how to spot bullying, how to respond if people see bullying, how to resolve conflict and how to promote positive work culture. This will help lessen the chances of bullying as bullying tends to be more prevalent in highly competitive environments with high levels of conflict. If a team is working on building a good culture bullying is less likely to occur.


Support

Ensure support for victims of bullying even if this means signposting to external organisations. This is vital as mentioned above bullying can have a huge impact on the victim and getting support early on can help minimise the impact.



support for bullying creative industries


Focus on building the culture you want in your organisation or on your project.

Focus on building the behaviours you want in the workplace. This includes encouraging teamwork, collaboration, recognising peoples wins and contributions. If the workplace is generally supportive then this lessens the likelihood of bullying behaviour.


Revisit these policies.

Set aside time to review the polices you have in place. Ask staff for feedback on these policies


What can I do if I spot bullying?


Assess the situation.

Check if its safe for you to gather more information on the situations and what dynamics are taking place.


Support the victim.

Offer support to the victim by expressing your concerns, ask how the target of the bullying experienced the incident and spend time listening and validating their feelings. Let them know they are not alone. Its ok not to have the answers. Its surprising how validating it can be that someone else also thinks the behaviours is not ok and has your back. This can be highly beneficial to the target of the bullying.



connect to stop bullying in creative industries


Distract

You can distract the bully away from the victim by changing the conversation or asking them a question.


Speak up!

If you can address the behaviour and share that the behaviour is unacceptable using statements including ‘I feel uncomfortable with this situation’ then do but only if its safe to do so.


Seek help:

If you feel unsafe to intervene or the situation continues to escalate report to HR, a supervisor or project director as this can help initiate support for the target of bullying.


Be kind, thank others, reach out to peoples who may be isolated.

It may feel small but thanking others for the work they do, respecting other people’s space, giving feedback in a constructive way, working through disagreements and being collaborative all foster a supportive workspace. This naturally discourages bullying and promotes a respectful work culture.



be kind to stop bullying in creative industries


Document

You can document dates, times locations and details of incidents of bullying. This can be really helpful in supporting the case of the recipient of the bullying. Ensure these documents are saved in a secure place. Save any relevant emails or messages from the bully.


An example of a record can be the following:

Date:

When:

Where:

What happened:

Any witnesses and their details:

Are other people also the target?

What impact is the bullying having on you?

How did it make you feel when the bullying is happening?

How did you feel after the bullying?

Did you feel discriminated against?


Always prioritise your own safety. If you witness bullying and feel at risk seek help from other people to help, take action.


Reducing the prevalence of bullying in the creative industries including Film, TV, Radio, Broadcasting, Fashion, Music, Arts, Performing Arts, Photography, gaming and architecture will help the industry to thrive and improve working conditions for the people working in the industry. Its important to take steps to reduce bullying. If you would like training for your company or project on what bullying is and how to create a positive work culture get in touch with us.


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