Sometimes, employees often act in the stereotyped manner of attempting to make jokes at the workplace in a bid to lighten up the atmosphere and make it conducive for everyone. Unfortunately, rather than ease the tension on other employees, they end up presenting themselves as a pushy and a self-promotional employee. The tight rope on which such employees walk is often a source of major heartaches for Australia’s employers who are finding it hard to tackle jokes and remarks that are not so friendly in the workplace. It can often not be about what the person meant but the perception of the person receiving.
Ultimately, the workplace is not designed to be a boring routine with no element of fun and humor in it. What every employer and HR Manager needs to know is how to find a balance between harmless jokes in the workplace, and targeted jokes. It is also important for employees to understand the uniqueness of every individual and make a conscious effort not to make jokes that might be perceived wrong by their fellow employees. As a rule of thumb, everyone needs to understand that some phrases are not allowed in the workplace despite their intention. Phrases like “I will make you understand who wears the pant around here” and so much more phrases that might be tagged as sexism should be discouraged in the workplace.
In an attempt to curb and limit unnecessary jokes in the office, employees need to understand sensitive topics and make a conscious effort to steer clear of it. Such remarks tend to upset the atmosphere around the workplace and around the community at large.
To effective battle the fast-rising trend of making unnecessary jokes in the workplace, HR needs to implement the following:
- Not So Much Seriousness
Sometimes in an attempt to curb the spread of an infection, we make use of the wrong lotions and we end up festering the wound. The motivation to curb unnecessary jokes by HR should not be an avenue for turning the workplace into a graveyard. The truth is, if you want more productivity from your employees, you need to make them happy with their job. When employees fall in love with their job and their work environment, they could carry on business for hours without breaking so much as a sweat.
Researches have proven that laughter in the workplace account for a large percentage of variations in employee productivity. As a result, HR should actually encourage an atmosphere of laughter in the workplace but should draw a distinct line over going overboard.
- Put It In Writing (if it is not written down, it didn’t happen)
The result of workplace conflict is mostly resolved after a visit to the Fair Work Commission website. Irrespective of the parties involved, chances are that it will come back to hunt the company for a very long time. The only way to be sure that your employees will comply with the rules is when they know that they have crossed the line. To do this, you might take the following step:
- Meet individual employees, obtained their perspective on jokes in the workplace, and explain to them what HR will condone and what it will not.
- The resolution of the meeting should be published, communicated to all employees and the sanction for offending employees should be clearly stated.
- Have clear Policies and procedures and workplace agreements
- Create an effective action plan to manage grievances:
HR should create a workplace culture where aggrieved employees can disclose inappropriate behaviors by employees or violations of the code of conducts. When employees are conscious of retribution, they tend to act with more decorum and compose themselves at the workplace.
The rule for dealing with inappropriate jokes is to make the employee see for themselves that such a joke is not appropriate for work. What HR should do is to make them realize their stupidity and ensure that they apologize for it. HR should take every complaint of inappropriate jokes serious and punish earing offenders.
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