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A scene demonstrating a bystander before they intervene

Active Bystander

Everyone will be a bystander of unacceptable behaviour at one time in the workplace, however not everyone realises their responsibility to act. There are barriers to people speaking out and many of these stem from a workplace culture where people feel they will be isolated and unsupported. This results in unacceptable and harmful behaviours becoming normalised. 

A whole organisation approach is vital.  Policies are a start, however Bystander Responsibility needs to be positively promoted and staff supported with the tools and confidence to speak out.  This starts by creating a healthy workplace culture, particularly concerning psychological safety. For the victim, it is important they understand they are not alone and feel supported. This also applies to the bystander so that when they witness unacceptable behaviour and step in, they are able to report it without the fear of retaliation and repercussions.

What is an Active Bystander? 

A bystander observes unacceptable behaviour or a conflict between two other people. An active bystander observes a situation and decides to intervene.

We all have a responsibility to act, failing to can reinforce the perpetrators actions and we can even be seen as being an accomplice, potentially having a bigger impact on the victim.

Research indicates that bystander intervention culture can be an effective way of preventing and discouraging unacceptable behaviour because the lines of acceptability are clear to everyone and the perpetrator understands the potential consequences.  

How to create an active bystander culture in the workplace?

Our training clarifies acceptable and unacceptable standards of behaviour, a toolkit to safely intervene, the importance of an inclusive team and provides leaders with the skills to effectively support those who have reported, witnessed, or been accused of unacceptable behaviour.

This training is essential for all levels of any organisation.

Benefits of active bystander training

Disempowering perpetrators 

Building confidence of individuals to speak out

Unhealthy work culture and behaviours being demonstrated by one colleugue raising his finger to another.

Improving the physical and psychological health of employees

Encouraging team cohesion

Creating a safe and healthy work environment

Optimising performance

Alongside the facilitated interactive activities there will be live scenarios reflecting interactions that are recognisable and relevant to the participants.

Using professional actors allows participants to practise the tools and skills they learn through forum theatre; instructing the characters and observing how their advice plays out live in front of them. This is a practical tool that demonstrates the outcomes of the actions advised. Our interactive training method encourages open discussion, creating a safe environment for people to discuss the expectations they have of themselves, their colleagues, and their organisations.

Using scenarios provides an opportunity to discuss: 

HR Magazine 2022

83% of employees say they have witnessed workplace bullying. 60% of bystanders report doing nothing when witnessing bullying

Following the training sessions, a feedback and evaluation report is compiled to ensure the actions highlighted are embedded and the learning is sustained. The report is reflective of the lived experience and perspective of the participants and includes: 

Issues, actions and concerns arising

Reoccurring themes

Consultative results and areas to be addressed

Voting results

Recommendations and actions

Participant feedback

Our reports are anonymous and compiled around individual, team, manager and organisation actions

All of our high impact programmes are able to be delivered face to face or virtually – just let us know your preference! 

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