14 February 2013
A lengthy grievance process, senior members of staff “perceived as intimidating”, bad language, a reported £25,000 pay out and potential Government select committee questions for the Education Secretary.
Reports of events at the Department for Education have spotlighted key issues for any workplace and provide a useful context for some reflective questions to help explore the value of healthy workplace relationships with a transparent approach.
- A senior officer is unaware that allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made and a lengthy grievance procedure underway. Is this because allegations of “bullying” aren’t taken seriously, or could it be that such behaviour is considered acceptable, or the sole focus is targets regardless of behaviour, good conduct and respect for others?
- An internal inquiry into bullying allegations acknowledged that individuals had been “perceived as intimidating”. The “sense of injury” that the events had caused the individual making the claims is also acknowledged, however, it finds no grounds for disciplinary action. An Employment Tribunal hearing is scheduled and there are reports of an out of court payment. Is this an example of a clear and transparent approach to implementing workplace policy and procedure?
In any workplace, the highest level sets the tone, with values; leadership / management styles; nature of communication; channels of accountability; conduct; behaviour; standards and quality being some of the elements cultivating workplace culture.