Don’t allow expensive mistakes

Companies need to avoid two expensive mistakes:

  • Not dealing effectively with harassment
  • Getting investigations wrong

These have been listed by People Management  as two of HR’s costliest mistakes.

Allowing damaging behaviour to go unchecked or conducting a poor investigation can cost companies a great deal of money.  If cases go to a tribunal, it can cost on average £8,500 to defend a claim and the average award during 2013-14 was £12,148.30.  These figures do not include sickness absence, disruptive team working, resignations, management time dealing with challenging people issues, etc.

Contact me, Jean Kelly, on 01753 861771 or email , if you would like an objective, thorough and fair investigation into a harassment or bullying allegation in your workplace.  Take advantage of the impartial approach we have developed over the last 20 years.  Or, even better, contact me if you would like me to help mediate and diffuse the conflict you are faced with.

Can your company afford to waste £33,179?

That’s what one large public sector company has wasted through not conducting an efficient, objective and thorough investigation into a claim of bullying against a senior manager by several members of staff.

For six months, the senior member of staff has been on ‘gardening leave’ whilst a manager has been trying to investigate the complaints.  During that time, the senior manager has been drawing a salary of about £6,666 per month.  The investigation, which started six months ago, has not yet been completed, so the company has lost £39,999 so far without an end in sight.  Add to that a possible settlement at the end of the investigation and the disruption costs and loss of morale suffered by the complainants and the £ signs go up and up.

Now, if that company had bought my Online Investigating Harassment and Bullying Pack for £155, the investigator would have learnt an effective and impartial method of investigating that would have taken her/ him about four working weeks to complete.  So I believe the company could have saved five months in salary costs.  Take off the £155 and it would have given them a total saving of £33,179.

For your copy of this unique Online Investigating Harassment and Bullying Pack, which comes with six months’ tele-support from me, Jean Kelly, click on

Let’s end harassment and bullying

It’s time for a change.

Present methods of dealing with harassment and bullying in the workplace are not working.  We need a win/win not an ‘eye for an eye’ approach.

Check out my article and together let’s rethink how to deal with harassment and bullying.

Best wishes, Jean

Learn how much workplace disputes cost your company

Conflict Calculator

Prepare to be shocked when you realise how much harassment and bullying is costing your company.

Click Here and received your free Conflict Calculator and see how the money is adding up.

If you would like to discuss informal or formal ways of dealing with harassment and bullying to encourage these issues to be resolved, please email me on  I will be happy to help you deal with these challenges.

Kind regards, Jean

Learn how to deal with difficult people – quickly and easily

If you want to make a short, sharp impression on your workforce at a conference or team meeting, check out the talks I am offering at .  The topics I have prepared include not only Investigating and Raising Awareness of Harassment and Bullying, but also a series of talks to deal quickly and easily with a variety of people management challenges. 
For example, did you know you can Deal with Difficult People Quickly and Easily?  During this interactive talk, you will begin to realise that you can change how you react to ‘difficult’ people and get a postive response instead.
Invite me to talk at your meeting and I will explain how.

Why we shouldn’t misuse the word ‘bully’

So easy to call someone a bully

Calling Chris Huhne a ‘bully’ must have seemed a simple way to Vicky Pryce to exact revenge on her ex-husband.  For a while, the press gave oxygen to this allegation by allowing her to repeat her accusations.  It wasn’t until the charge of perverting the course of justice was heard in court that this claim was discredited.  This reminded me of the countless allegations of bullying in the workplace I have investigated where I have come up against unhappy people seizing on the term ‘bully’ as a way of exacting revenge.  I am not saying that bullying doesn’t happen – we all know of unacceptable behaviour that is damaging to the person on the receiving end.  But, from my experience, this word can be banded around without understanding exactly what it means.  Its misuse can be as inappropriate as bullying itself.

 Benefit from my support when investigating harassment and bullying

Thinking about how the high profile case involving Chris Huhne and Vicky Price evolved reinforced my belief in making sure all investigations of formal complaints of bullying and harassment are conducted in an open, transparent and factual way.  Consequently, I have produced an online training course which takes you through my tried and tested method which, to date, has proved amazingly successful when investigating sensitive, senior and complex complaints.  To make sure that you benefit from my experience, I will be available to you on a dedicated telephone hot line for six months to help you prepare and conduct your investigations and come to sound and objective findings.  Please click on this link for further details

Road rage in swimming pool

I regularly go for a swim at a private pool and enjoy the time to relax and meditate as I am swimming along.  But this morning it didn’t go quite like that.

One man was in the lane before I got there so I swam alongside him.  Another swimmer joined us and she insisted that we swam in a circle as the lane was too narrow for three to swim in parallel.  The male swimmer refused as he said we were all swimming at different speeds so that would not work.  I said that is what we are supposed to do, so I was willing to give it a try.  The woman insisted we did that and, according to the man who was still swimming up and down without going round in a circle, she kicked him as she went by.

Things then deteriorated with the two of them having a stand up argument in the lane.  I decided to put my head down and continue swimming around them as my time was limited and I really wanted to have the exercise.  I hadn’t come to the pool for an argument.

They individually came up to me afterwards.  The man said he had put in a complaint about the woman as she had been rude to him, adding that she was a foreigner.   I pointed out that she was a member of the club the same as him and I.  The woman came up to me in the changing room and said how rude the man had been and that he should have followed the lane rules.  She added that he was a pensioner and, as such, had all day to swim whereas she had to get back to work.

This situation reminded me of many formal complaints of harassment and bullying I have investigated.  I have encountered similar dogged attitudes such as:

  1. Neither person being able to see things from the point of view of the other one.
  2. Both making discriminatory comments.  Age or race in this situation were completely irrelevant, but both factors were cited as related to the other person’s unreasonable behaviour.
  3. Neither giving way or compromising – each believing they were right, when, in fact, they were both partly right but mainly wrong.

 As I often say, it takes two to tango – or, in this case, breaststroke.

12 tips to promote harmony in 2013

To commemorate the last time the numbers in the date will be the same this century – i.e. 12/12/12 here are my 12 tips for promoting workplace harmony in 2013.  Let’s make next year the best one yet for developing happy and effective workplace relationships.

 My 12 Tips 

  1. Train managers in people management skills.  Happy confident managers make happy confident teams and vice versa.
  2. Listen to your staff and encourage them to be involved in making decisions – they will then own any changes you make and not fight against them.
  3. Coach staff to achieve even more.  What skills and qualities do your staff have?  You won’t know the full range until you begin to coach them.
  4. Develop strong Dignity at Work policies and procedures to make sure staff know how to deal with conflict issues.
  5. Develop robust informal resolution procedures.  There are usually no real winners when complaints go formal.  Early, informal resolution creates harmonious workplaces. 
  6. Train key staff in conflict resolution skills – easier to nip conflict in the bud than have prolonged formal investigations.
  7. Learn how to build effective and harmonious working relationships after disputes have occurred – consider developing your mediation and reconciliation skills.
  8. Develop a sound grievance investigation procedure and train managers to investigate objectively and impartially in accordance with the procedure. No more subjective investigations in 2013, please.  Findings based simply on facts are unlikely to be appealed!
  9. Encourage staff to develop their interpersonal skills.  If they read my powerful little book, How to be Bully Proof, they will be empowered to deal with ‘difficult’ people rather than become complaining victims.
  10. If you are a manager, spend time talking with your staff and getting to know them. Believe that they want to know you and to build a trusting relationship with you.  They do!
  11. Deal with difficult situations immediately- don’t let them fester.  If you avoid dealing with them, they will become more entrenched and harder to resolve.
  12. Talk to me in confidence by phone or email – don’t struggle on your own.  Take advantage of my 20 years’ experience dealing with workplace conflict.  I am here to support you!

What is the difference between Harassment and Bullying?

In my last blog, I explained that Harassment and Bullying have a lot in common.  So why do we need two words?

Here is my simple way of understanding the difference.

 Harassment is a form of DISCRIMINATION

 For harassment to occur, a person has to prove that they were on the receiving end of the unacceptable behaviour because of their:

  •  Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

 These are known as the seven ‘protected characteristics’. 

 Bullying is mean behaviour to one or more people.

 For example, if a member of staff was offensive in some way to all members of their team, they could say they were being bullied by that person.

 However, if that member of staff was only offensive to the women in the team, the women could say they were being sexually harassed by that person.  In other words, they were being treated that way because they were women.  If someone picks on only staff from certain ethnic groups, this could be construed as racial harassment.

 Harassment could take place if someone was treated in an offensive and unacceptable way because of any of the seven protected characteristics.

 If our behaviour can be construed as discriminatory as well as offensive, we could be faced with a harassment claim.   Or, if there is no evidence of us picking on someone because of one of the seven protected characteristics but we nevertheless abuse our power in some way, we could be told we are bullying them.

 Harassment and Bullying have unpleasant, damaging and time-consuming effects on our workplaces.  If you would like to learn how to confidently:

  • Understand the difference between harassment and bullying
  • Know your rights and responsibilities as a manager and worker
  • Understand your legal responsibilities and how to avoid legal pitfalls
  • Know the difference between bullying and strong, fair management
  • Ensure your staff behave appropriately at work – so cutting down on bullying and harassment grievances and complaints

click here for full details of how to immediately download my unique, online learning pack.  I have demystified harassment and bullying and simplified the concepts involved.  By working through this pack, anyone in the workplace can become aware of these important issues and learn to manage and interact in an appropriate way.


Harassment and Bullying – What you should know!

This is Number One in our series on Raising Awareness of Harassment and Bullying at Work.

What do the words Harassment and Bullying have in common?

During the 20 years I have been training, investigating and consulting in harassment and bullying issues, I have encountered the words ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying’ being used interchangeably, wrongly and unnecessarily. People tick the ‘I have beenbullied’ box on Employee Engagement Surveys to cover a range of issues. For example:
• When they did not get a rise they had been expected.
• Their department is being downsized.
• They feel overworked.

The word ‘harassed’ has many meanings in the English language. Here are a few synonyms I found in the Word dictionary:

• Stressed
• Hassled
• Worried

And we often associate the word ‘bullying’ with nasty behaviour at school.

However, the words have specific meanings under employment law and I find the easiest way to define these words is first to consider what they have in common.

The list below is not necessarily in order of importance, but the chances are that a complaint of harassment or bullying would include some or all of the following:

1. Unwanted behaviour by the person on the receiving end.
2. A one-off or repeated event.
3. A bad effect on the individual.
4. Abuse of power and disrespectful behaviour.
5. Unreasonable behaviour.

Remember that it is the impact of a person’s behaviour which is fundamental to harassment and bullying situations, rather than the intention of the perpetrator.

Well, if harassment and bullying have all this in common, what is the DIFFERENCE between them? Check out my next blog to understand the difference.

Image of the Harassment and Bullying PackHarassment and Bullying have unpleasant, damaging and time-consuming effects on our workplaces. If you would like to learn how to confidently:

• Understand the difference between harassment and bullying
• Know your rights and responsibilities as a manager and worker.
• Understand your legal responsibilities and how to avoid legal pitfalls.
• Know the difference between bullying and strong, fair management.
• Ensure a your staff behave appropriately at work – so cutting down on bullying and harassment grievances and complaints.

Then click here for full details of how to immediately download my unique, online learning pack - available at the Launch Offer Price for £99.

I have demystified harassment and bullying and simplified the concepts involved. By working through this pack, anyone in the workplace can become aware of these important issues and learn to manage and interact in an appropriate way.