Plato had said that “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Imagine a young individual, just out of college, newly recruited to an organization – an organization where using abusive language is as much a part of life as drinking water or as common as printing documents, where using crass words and belittling fellow employees is the order of the day and where nobody reflects before making foul comments on personal life. How will this young individual feel while entering a workplace like that every day? What will be his first outlook towards the work culture? Is it likely that this new recruit may not perform well? And imagine if he does survive a workplace like that for three years, what will become of him by the end of three years? Some harassment simply seems to result from what Dr. Fitzgerald calls a “cultural lag.” “Many men entered the work place at a time when sexual teasing and innuendo were commonplace,” she said. “They have no sense there’s anything wrong with it. All they need is some education.” There is no black or white answer for these questions. A hostile work environment can have different levels of impact on different individuals. While some can get majorly affected and disturbed – leading to psychological damage, some may re-cast themselves to become like the very people that caused them mental trauma and some others may be able to get past such experiences to lead a normal life but may become low on self-esteem and confidence. All in all, consequences of a hostile work environment can never be positive and may leave behind a sour taste for most people. As a result of such environment, employees of such a workplace can never respect or have faith in their workplace or even feel a sense of belonging to such workplace and employers may not be able to ever extract a 100% work product from them. On the other hand, a workplace that is not hostile will not only promote a feeling of general happiness and belonging among the employees, but will also enable employers to extract the maximum from them, without putting any extra effort. Hence, apart from creating respect and reputational value for an organization, a happy work environment would not only mean 100% work efficiency but also guarantee long-term faithful association with employees.
Therefore, it is pertinent for employers to note that success of an organization, to a large extent depends on the kind of work environment that they create for his employees. To a large extent, such success also depends on the action an employer takes against those who try to pollute the work environment. If an organization is safe, friendly and a certain amount of decorum is maintained at work – no employee will ever feel disgruntled with behaviour of others. Thus, individuals will perform better, teams will perform better and the organization as a whole will perform better, as Vince Lombardi had once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Hence, employers should keep in mind that prosperity of an organization depends on group effort – of both, employers and employees and it is only when individuals at a workplace respect each other that an organization will prosper.
– Adv. Shivangi Prasad – Corporate Lawyer, External Member & Trainer, Head – Legal & Compliance, Partner Child Safety at Work