Following a national report about half of Dutch university employees feeling unsafe at work, the University of Groningen is developing initiatives aimed at tackling employee bullying and intimidation.
By Hans de Preter
The RUG wants to teach employees to learn to say something when they see things – also with others – which they think are unacceptable, and therefore they cannot look away. The University of Groningen has organized a training course to combat this undesirable behavior and a symposium is being held this week. The RUG is also developing an integrity programme and a zero tolerance statement, according to the Dagblad van het Noorden.
The measures are in response to research released by the Dutch Association of Universities that found that nearly half of university employees report that they feel unsafe in the social environment where they work.
“Bullying is unacceptable,” says Marjolein Renker, a confidential advisor from the university, in an interview with the Dagblad van het Noorden. Renker is an independent confidant who has been employed by the RUG since December 2017. She is also involved in measures taken by the RUG to prevent staff harassment, unequal treatment, bullying, stalking, sexual harassment or discrimination.
One of the means to counteract this is to train staff to learn how to deal with undesirable behavior in the workplace.According to Mrs. Renker, it is actually too late when people come to her to complain and report abuses, which is why staff should be trained in how to deal with undesirable behavior at the earliest possible stage. The unwanted behavior should not be silenced, but always raised as quickly as possible in the workplace.