What are the top 10 ways to save big in the workplace?
In my last blog, I mentioned that the lessons learned from workplace bullying were valuable for anyone working in an organization. But what exactly were the lessons I learned? And which ones could potentially save others their career and health? I took a look back at my situation and narrowed my list down to ten.
From must-know terms, to professional rules that should always be followed, to the resources every employee should have, this list is sure to empower you this Holiday Season:
1. The term “workplace bullying”
Knowing the term “workplace bullying” gives you the ability to research thousands of articles on an issue that affects 1 in 3 American workers. In just a few clicks, you can begin to learn what to watch out for, how to respond, and what the best ways are to protect yourself. If you are new to the term, you can start your journey where I did, at the Workplace Bullying Institute’s website.
2. Legal Rights
Workplace bullying is NOT illegal in the US, but it may be wise to seek legal advice. Most employees do not realize how cruel and unfair their employers can be. This lack of knowledge can catch employees off guard, leading them to fight tirelessly against an injustice they are unlikely to win. Can someone spread rumors and sabotage your work? Yes. Can you be falsely accused of misdeeds and be failed on performance reviews, even after years of excellent ones? Unfortunately, yes. Even so, seeking legal consultation (many times this is free) may uncover unlawful discrimination and retaliation. To learn more, visit healthyworkplacebill.org. To find an employment lawyer, you can visit nela.org.
3. Code of Conduct
Most companies have a Code of Conduct or handbook outlining their values, principles, and standards for professional conduct. While not always illegal for a company to break their commitments to you, these policies can provide employees with leverage and may potentially show illegal bias. Be sure to print out these company policies and place them in a safe place at home.
4. Human Resources
While there are certainly some wonderful HR professionals, there are many instances in which employees were surprised to find out that HR is not the confidential, employee advocacy center they assumed it was. Most often, HR is a part of management and one of their functions is to protect the legal interests of the company. It’s essential to understand the role of HR and when it’s in your best interest to reach out to them. I found an article in ToughNickel.com that explains what many, including myself, experienced when seeking support from HR.
5. Seek an Expert
In addition to seeking legal advice, there are workplace bully experts available for consultation. I found that for between $125 – $200 an hour, you can talk with an expert about your options. Not only can this help you avoid costly mistakes, but it may even save your career. To find experts in the field, you can visit the resources tab on my website at www.theempoweredemployee.com.
6. Document, Document, Document!
One of the biggest mistake’s employees make is a failure to document the issues they are facing in the workplace until it’s too late. While it can seem to be an exhausting and cumbersome task, this discipline is one of the most important actions you can take to protect yourself in the workplace. Be sure to keep all documentation at home, including printed emails, notes or any other pieces of evidence that may be relevant. You can jot down notes the old-fashioned way or check out Dr. Barrow’s Workplace bullying app.
7. Keep It Professional
Never use your company’s computer for research, documentation or personal communication of any kind. Here is an excellent article published in Time.com that explains why this is so important.
8. Update Your Resume
Keep a current resume and a running list of your skills and accomplishments. Did you take on any additional responsibilities? Receive additional training? Win any awards? Were you recognized for going above and beyond? Did you receive any customer, coworker or supervisor compliments? Increase sales or initiate any new projects? These successes add to your professional value and they belong to you! Be sure to take ownership of them.
9. Ambush Meetings
There are few professional situations worse than being unprepared for an important meeting…but perhaps none more devastating than being unprepared for the Ambush Meeting. This must see 33-minute YouTube video by Dr. Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bully Institute, explains what this meeting is about, who will be there, and how you can handle it best.
10. Exit Strategy
If you do decide it’s time to resign, there’s an option of asking your company for a mutual separation with severance. While not guaranteed by any means, the awareness that such a strategy exists can be a life saver for many employees. Please note, it is wise to seek advice from an expert or lawyer before initiating this meeting. Here’s an article discussing the Exit Strategy and why it may be a great option.
And there you have it, my friends. My personal top 10 tips that can potentially save you big in the workplace. My hope in sharing this information is that it increases your knowledge, putting you in a much better position should you or someone you love unexpectedly face this abuse.
The thought that if these tips can alleviate some shock, pain, or heartache, if it encourages someone to seek help earlier than later, or if it inspires anyone to learn more…then, that makes my own devastating experience…(dare I say it)…
It is important to note that workplace bullying is complicated and there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Always be sure to research further, seek legal or professional advice, and above all, take care of your personal health.
Wherever you are in your career or recovery, I wish you success, peace, and most of all, good health,