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Workplace Bullying and Harassment and How to curb it

Cultivating Respect and Inclusivity

In the hushed corners of workspaces, behind closed doors, and within the invisible boundaries of online spaces, a silent epidemic continues to cast a dark shadow over the lives of countless individuals in the workplace. With that in mind, the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) recognizing the importance of curbing the practice of bullying and harassment in the workplace, recently organized a webinar titled “Workplace Bullying & Harassment and how to curb it”.

The online session was designed to shine a light on the topic, unmask the face of workplace bullying, dissect its various forms, its effect on the workplace and empower pension professionals and organizations a means to confront it head-on.

The session was opened by PenOp’ s Training and People lead, Adaobi Okoye who highlighted the need to identify & curb workplace harassment. The online session, had over 500 pension professionals in attendance.

Adetunbi Ashaye, who is the Group Head Collection Contributions, Fidelity Pension facilitated the webinar, drawing on his years of experience in the cooperate work environment.

As Ashaye opened the discussion, he urged attendees to reflect on a sobering reality, he said, “at some point in our lives, we have either directly engaged in or witnessed acts of bullying or harassment within the workplace”.

Diving deeper into this topic, Ashaye emphasized that workplace bullying and harassment, although distinct in some aspects, often share common characteristics. Both are fundamentally rooted in power dynamics, where one party seeks to exert dominance over another, resulting in physical or emotional harm. Harassment on the other hand, often hinges on unwelcome behavior driven by factors such as race or gender, making it not only morally reprehensible but legally punishable.

Ashaye spoke on some of adverse consequences of bullying and harassment, ranging from anxiety, distress, and physical ailments to reduced work performance, low morale, and even employee disengagement. Such behaviours can lead to depression, can damage an individual's self-esteem and overall well-being and in extreme cases, suicide.

One of the major highlights of the session was the emphasis that tolerating workplace bullying and harassment isn't just a matter of human decency, it profoundly impacts an organization's culture, productivity, and employee retention. It's a stark reminder that organizations must actively address these issues to maintain a healthy and respectful work environment.

In conclusion, the knowledge sharing session equipped attendees with a comprehensive understanding of workplace bullying and harassment, offering actionable insights and strategies to create workplaces that are safe, inclusive, and nurturing for all employees. It is a collective call to action, urging individuals and organizations to stand against these behaviors and champion respect, dignity, and inclusivity in every workplace.

The webinar was part of PenOp's ongoing monthly knowledge-sharing sessions. These sessions provide a platform for professionals in the pension industry to network, exchange ideas, and listen to subject matter experts discuss relevant topics.