How to get over workplace bullying

How to Prevent Bullying |

Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can: 

  • Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
  • Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
  • Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

Help Kids Understand Bullying

Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.

  • Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
  • Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away
  • Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.
  • Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
  • Watch the short webisodes and discuss them - PDF with kids.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Sometimes spending 15 minutes a day talking can reassure kids that they can talk to their parents if they have a problem. Start conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like these:

  • What was one good thing that happened today? Any bad things?
  • What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?
  • What is it like to ride the school bus?
  • What are you good at? What would do you like best about yourself?

Talking about bullying directly is an important step in understanding how the issue might be affecting kids. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to encourage kids to answer them honestly. Assure kids that they are not alone in addressing any problems that arise. Start conversations about bullying with questions like these:

  • What does “bullying” mean to you?
  • Describe what kids who bully are like. Why do you think people bully?
  • Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
  • Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
  • What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
  • Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
  • What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
  • Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
  • Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?

Get more ideas for talking with children - PDF about life and about bullying. If concerns come up, be sure to respond.

There are simple ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with kids’ lives. 

  • Read class newsletters and school flyers. Talk about them at home.
  • Check the school website
  • Go to school events
  • Greet the bus driver
  • Meet teachers and counselors at “Back to School” night or reach out by email
  • Share phone numbers with other kids’ parents

Teachers and school staff also have a role to play. 

Encourage Kids to Do What They Love

Help kids take part in activities, interests, and hobbies they like. Kids can volunteer, play sports, sing in a chorus, or join a youth group or school club. These activities give kids a chance to have fun and meet others with the same interests. They can build confidence and friendships that help protect kids from bullying.

Model How to Treat Others with Kindness and Respect

Kids learn from adults’ actions. By treating others with kindness and respect, adults show the kids in their lives that there is no place for bullying. Even if it seems like they are not paying attention, kids are watching how adults manage stress and conflict, as well as how they treat their friends, colleagues, and families.

How to Deal with Bullies at Work: 9 Tips

Don't let your workplace bully win; here's how to handle bullying at work.

Bullying has become far too common in the workplace, taking the form of nonverbal, verbal, psychological, and physical abuse. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 19 percent of adults in the U.S. are bullied at work, while 60.3 million workers are affected by workplace bullying. 

In a TopResume survey on bullying in the workplace, of the 1,229 respondents, only four percent said they have never felt bullied in the workplace; that means a staggering 96 percent of respondents have felt bullied by someone else at work. 

And, if you think bullying only comes from those in a position of power, like a manager or a boss, think again. In that same survey, 25 percent of respondents said they have felt bullied by a peer or co-worker.  

Workplace bullying in a virtual world

We are living in a new normal. That new normal means an increase in remote work for the first time and a blend of in-office and remote workers for many companies. While some individuals enjoy working from home, others might prefer the structure of being in an office more. In either case, workplace bullying increases work stress and takes the enjoyment out of work no matter where you're located.

And this transition to a more remote workforce makes it challenging for employers to witness and monitor workplace bullying, enabling bullies to cause harm. 

It's easier to bully people when they don't have to see them face to face; they hide behind instant messenger chats and text messages. Since many remote workers have a challenging time “logging off” from work at the end of the workday, they don't have a chance to step away from the bullying to get a fresh perspective on how to handle it if they're the target. Further, the more relaxed home-office environment can open doors to an unprofessional attitude and rude comments from co-workers.

TopResume career expert, Amanda Augustine, shares, “You might assume that workplace bullying will be less of an issue when everyone is working from home, but unfortunately, this isn't the case. In fact, many may find it easier to bully a co-worker when they can hide behind a computer keyboard.” 

Augustine continues, “In addition, the more casual home office often leads professionals to be less buttoned-up than they would be in their organization's physical office, and more likely to drop their guard about what they say and do via email, messaging, and video-conference platforms.” 

Examples of remote (and in-office) bullying include:

  • Messages containing sexist or discriminatory remarks

  • Embarrassing social media posts

  • Threatening messages or emails

  • Demeaning, belittling, or talking over someone during meetings or video calls

  • Micromanaging every detail of work an employee does

  • Spreading gossip or rumors about co-workers

  • Taking credit for someone else's work

  • Withholding necessary resources for someone to get their job done

  • Yelling at an employee in front of other employees

  • Gaslighting and making an employee second guess themselves

Workplace bullying can lead to health concerns, undue stress, and low productivity at work — and that's just the tip of the iceberg. With that said, it's important to take appropriate steps to handle bullying at work to support your wellbeing. Below are some suggestions to consider if you find yourself bullied at work (or witnessing it).

How to handle bullying at work

1. Research your company's policy

If you're being bullied at work or know of someone who is, research your company's policies to determine the proper protocols to report such activity. Many organizations have a no-tolerance policy for such behavior, which includes reporting guidelines when being subject to or witnessing it. 

If your organization doesn't have a policy or the current policy needs updating to reflect remote work arrangements, speak to your manager or HR department about putting a new company policy in place to protect employees from abuse.

2. Take a beat

If you feel you are being bullied at work, take a breather to size up the situation. From a calm and grounded perspective, you can determine the best way to deal with the situation.

Tip: Keep in mind that people make mistakes. Take a moment to size up the situation and determine if the "bullying" was simply a one-time incident or something that will evolve into continued abuse and harassment.

3. Take care of your wellbeing and mental health

Understandably, many individuals are afraid to speak up when they are being bullied. They might be concerned about what others will think. And, if the bully is their boss or someone in a position of power, then one's livelihood is at stake. 

However, bullying can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing, both mentally and physically. Take care of yourself by pulling resources together to support you. A mental health professional or counselor is an excellent place to start to help you deal with the stress of bullying and come up with solutions on how to handle it.

4. Talk to your higher-ups or HR

If you are not comfortable speaking to the individual who is bullying you directly, you might need to discuss it with your manager or human resources. Choose the course of action that feels best for you for your situation.

Tip: When addressing your concerns, focus on the negative impact on productivity, wellbeing, and morale while staying professional and calm.

5. Don't take it personally

While this is easier said than done, do your best to not take bullying personally. Remember, when someone is bullying you, it's more about them than it is about you. Often, a bully is acting from a place of insecurity, jealously, and/or from a need to control. 

In fact, the targets of bullies are often high performers that do well at work. Practice having healthy emotional boundaries that keep you from reacting or feeling bad about yourself when workplace bullying occurs.

6. Address the issue directly and rise above

This won't always be possible or comfortable, but it is often best to speak up and stand your ground when communicating with a bully. At the same time, you want to be professional and take the high road.

Augustine advises, “Stay calm and rise above. Take the higher ground and try to respond in a rational and professional manner. There's no point in trying to beat a bully at their own game, as it will only add fuel to the fire. Instead, address the conflict head-on by letting them know — in a non-accusatory tone — how their actions are making you feel.”

Fran Hauser, author of "The Myth of the Nice Girl," suggests the following phrases when dealing with a work bully or someone who is not treating you appropriately: 

  • "Please don't talk to me that way."

  • "Let's try to get this conversation to a place where it can be productive."

  • "Let's take a break and come back to this later." 

7. Leave if it's not worth it

Your wellbeing and mental health are most important, and without it you're no good to anyone. If you have done all you can to eliminate the bullying, but it's still occurring, then it might be time to explore other options and leave the organization.  

It might feel like the bully won if this is the avenue you choose, but when you take care of yourself and leave a bad situation, you're the winner. Also, you want to know you're working for an organization that takes care of its employees and puts a stop to abusive behavior when it occurs.

8. Document all of it

This bit of advice on how to handle bullying in the workplace is extremely important to remember: Always document everything related to your interactions with the bully. This not only provides a timeline of events, but it also helps you recall information more easily when needed. 

Augustine suggests, “Save email threads, take screenshots of text messages, and keep a log of the instances in which your colleague bullied you. Jot down the dates, times, locations, and the names of any people who witnessed your co-worker bullying you firsthand. If you have the ability to record your video conference meetings, do so and hold on to the files, should you need to present them as evidence of your colleague's bullying ways.

When possible, communicate via email when dealing with a bully to have a written record of the communication, as well.

Tip: If a bully is attempting to make you look bad or imply you're not doing your job, you can ask for written confirmation and details that they will have to own up to when questioned.

9. Consult with an attorney

Though states do have rules and regulations in place for bullying, it's not illegal. However, bullying that is also considered harassment is illegal. If you don't get a resolution at work after going through all of the channels you know to go through, you might want to speak to an attorney to discuss your options. Generally, this is a last resort due to cost and time required to pursue legal channels but could be worth it depending on your circumstances. 

The survey results highlighted at the beginning of this post show that there is a resounding need to deal with workplace bullying. Take action to support yourself if you find yourself being impacted by a workplace bully. Also, when you speak up and take a stand for yourself, it empowers others to do the same.

Is your work bully too much to handle anymore? Our resume writers can ensure that your resume is ready to land you another job. 

Recommended Reading:

  • How to Spot a Toxic Workplace — Before You Take the Job

  • Make Your Office Life Healthier

  • Signs You're in a Toxic Work Environment — and How to Handle It

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How to deal with bullying at work

December 7, 2021 Life

Record everything that happens and remember that you are not to blame for anything.



We tend to think that bullying is only a problem for children or teenagers. What happens at school, summer camp, or in extreme cases at the institute. And it certainly does not apply to adults, working, balanced people.

But it is not so. In Russia, almost no one deals with this problem and, accordingly, does not keep statistics. But in the US, according to experts, 9 people complain about bullying.0011 2017 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey / Workplace Bullying Institute 60 million people. And if you feel bad at work, and colleagues systematically spoil your mood or interfere with your career, you may also have experienced bullying.

How to understand that you are being bullied and what it can lead to

Of course, bullying in the workplace is different from school bullying. No one will write “Vasya is a fool” on the blackboard and steal your homework notebook or sports uniform. No one will pinch in the toilet or locker room, will not beat or openly humiliate. At least the chances that this will happen are quite low.

But that doesn't mean bullying at work is harmless. It's just that the aggressors use other methods.

They may make caustic remarks or hurtful jokes at you, pointedly ignore you, misinform you so that you fail to cope with the task and put yourself in a disadvantageous light before the boss, harshly criticize, blame you for extra work, gossip, leave anonymous complaints, even stealing or damaging your belongings and documents.

Occasion 6 Reasons Why People Are Bullied at Work / Verywell Mind bullying can be anything: appearance far from the standards of beauty, kindness and gentleness, impressive career success and the location of superiors. If you have become a victim of bullying, you should not look for reasons in yourself. The aggressor is always to blame. Yes, he is often pushed into bullying by personal problems Why Do People Bully? The Scientific Reasons / Ditch the Label: stress and trauma, self-doubt, past abuse. But this does not relieve him of responsibility.

If you feel bad at work, and the prospect of interacting with colleagues causes fear, then you should never turn a blind eye to this.

Those who are bullied for a long time not only work less productively. They also risk their health: bullying leads B. Verkuil, S. Atasayi, M. L. Molendijk. Workplace Bullying and Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis on Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Data / PLoS ONE for depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks. Bullying also raises T. Xu, L. L. Magnusson et al. Workplace Bullying and Workplace Violence as Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease: A Multi-Cohort Study / European Heart Journal T. Xu, L. L. Magnusson Hanson et al. Workplace Bullying and Violence as Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: A Multi-Cohort Study and Meta-analysis / Type II Diabetologia.

What to do if you are bullied at work

Unfortunately, there are no legal mechanisms that could punish the bully for lies, malicious comments or sidelong glances. If the situation has gone very far (one of your colleagues stole your things or even hit you), you can contact the police.

For cases when your rights are violated - they don't pay for overtime, they don't give vacation, they try to illegally dismiss you - there is a labor inspectorate. In other situations, you will have to act independently. And here's what you can do.

1. Write down everything that happens

This step may seem silly and petty. But you need to capture everything that happens. If there is something to photograph or film (for example, damaged things) - take out the camera.
Your entries must reflect:

  • What happened.
  • When it happened.
  • Who else was there.
  • What other people said or did.

Firstly, it will help you understand that you did not invent anything and that you are really offended and poisoned. And they do it systematically. Secondly, you will figure out who exactly is involved in bullying, and who can be pulled over to your side.

And most importantly, the notes will come in handy during a conversation with the management, if you decide to do so. The streamlined “My appearance is often commented on in a derogatory manner” sounds much less convincing than “On January 15, my colleague A, looking at my stomach, asked if I was expecting twins. At the same time, colleagues B and C were present. B laughed, and C made a remark to A.


Gain support

You may not be the only one being offended by the aggressor, or there may be others among your colleagues who disapprove of his behavior. Try to team up with them to tell the leader about what is happening together or to put the offender in his place. Seeing that you are not alone and you have a "support group", the aggressor is likely to stop his attacks.

3. Do not be silent

You need to show the offender that you will not leave his behavior unnoticed and unpunished. State your position loudly (so that other colleagues can hear it as well). Explain what you don't like and why. Ask them not to do it again.

Speak calmly, clearly, never raise your voice, do not quarrel, do not resort to insults. Focus on your opponent's actions, not his personality.

For example: “I don't like the fact that you come to my desk several times a day without invitation, look over my shoulder and stare at my monitor for a long time. I don't have to show you what I'm working on. If you're interested, you can ask me a question and not violate my boundaries. I ask you not to do this again."

If the bullying doesn't stop after this, try to fight back. But at the same time, again, observe the limits of decency: do not insult a person, do not get personal.

Yes, not everyone has the strength and courage for an open confrontation. When you're being attacked, coming up with a witty and snarky response can be tricky. But you can do it differently. For example, ask the aggressor questions.

  • Why are you saying this?
  • Why did you do that?
  • What did you mean by that?

This will shift the focus of everyone's attention from yourself to the offender and expose him in a ridiculous light. He will either have to answer for his words and deeds, or retreat.

4. Seek help

Gather all the facts, enlist the support of colleagues and tell management what is happening. A toxic workplace environment reduces employee productivity and leads to employee turnover. And this, in turn, can cost the authorities quite expensive. Therefore, it is in his interests to extinguish the conflict.

If your manager didn't support you or takes part in bullying, you should think about changing jobs. Yes, it's not fair. But your peace of mind and health are more important than principles. It is unlikely that something good awaits you in a company that turns a blind eye to bullying employees.

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How to deal with bullying in the workplace

There is no place for collectivists in the African savannah. It is more convenient to act on the principle of "every man for himself": there is less responsibility. And if they do, no one will regret it. Therefore, zoologists were very surprised when they encountered the phenomenon of mobing: when a group of animals drives a lonely fellow. Psychologists were even more amazed when they found out that mobing is also present in human society. Moreover, according to statistics, he is found in every fifth team. Our task is to warn you and equip you with the latest methods to combat this phenomenon.

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With the fact that not everyone adore you, you gradually begin to get used to it immediately after parting with diapers. Indistinctly spoken words, awkward steps and a naive smile are not enough to cause a general explosion of delight and tenderness. At first, toys, natural charm help, then a sense of humor, money, and, finally, professional skills. Everything that allows you to find a common language with friends, colleagues and superiors. This works with varying success, but the real surprise is the moment when even the most positive qualities and actions, instead of admiration, cause irritation and even hatred. Quite possibly, these are the first signs of mobing, or simply bullying. Its goal is to survive a person from the team, completely deleting him from the staff list and the list of employees.

Contents of the article

Reason for harassment

You don't have to spill carrot juice on your colleague or trip him in the hallway to get on the enemy list. He will do everything necessary for you. He will look at the payroll to check your salary with his own, or hear you flirt with the secretary to whom he wanted to propose his hand and heart. You can cross someone's path simply by getting a position that one of the old-timers of the office has been counting on for a long time.

There is only one result: the offended person begins to hatch insidious plans for revenge. If he enjoys formal or informal authority in the team, other colleagues quickly gather around him, and revenge becomes a common cause.

Bullying technique

Mobers' fantasy is limited by the degree of their intellectual development. And, of course, official position. It is not recommended to get the CEO of the company as the main spiteful critic: the persecution will be ridiculously short. The most common tool of mobbing is as banal as it is effective. These are gossip that are carefully cultivated and spread through prying ears.

It is enough to show up in the office with circles under your eyes, and a rumor will immediately spread among your colleagues that you have been drinking for the fifth day, mixing single malt with Zhiguli beer. If you drive up to the office in a new car, they will immediately write you down as a bribe-taker and predict a dizzying criminal career.

Another variant of mobbing is petty sabotage. It can be blatant - bent paperclips in a desk, sharp buttons on a chair, or a virus running on your computer. Hidden sabotage is the most dangerous. This is when you think that your instructions are being followed, but instead of the result you get round eyes and complaints of multiple sclerosis and early Alzheimer's. Mobbers will do everything to hang this miscalculation on you and report it to the management. Even if you manage to prove your innocence, the sediment will remain.

The result of bullying

All these efforts will lead to the fact that any of your actions will be evaluated negatively. Didn't stay after work? Does not care about the interests of the company. Remained? Does not cope with work during regular hours. In general, your every breath will be accompanied by criticism and petty nit-picking, which will only grow over time.

Being mobbed, you will quickly find yourself in social isolation. Psychologists note that in such situations a person quickly loses his bearings and becomes more and more helpless and insecure. Chronic stress and accompanying symptoms are formed - headache, insomnia, circulatory disorders, etc. At work, everything falls apart, any enthusiasm disappears completely. As a result, it is easier to change jobs than to continue working in such conditions.

Your actions

To clearly understand what you have to fight, imagine that you are walking near a group of Spartak fans. At the same time, you are dressed in red and blue colors. For the purity of the experiment, you can mentally shout: "CSKA is the champion." You need to decide whether to run away or fight very quickly, since you only need to evaluate two things.

First, your strength: are you ready to fight alone against the collective? Secondly, how much do you love and value your football team (or workplace): is it worth it to start a conflict for it? If the answer to at least one of these questions is negative, the best way out is to write a letter of resignation. It is unlikely that anyone will reproach you for cowardice or lack of will for refusing to fight an aggressive crowd for an empty idea.

If you are determined to fight, consider the following tips.

Become vindictive

If you complain about a bad memory at a sufficient level of anger, start writing down all the insults inflicted on you. Keep a diary for this purpose. So write: “Today at 11:24 Kobelyatsky treacherously stepped on my foot, after which he laughed in my face. Bastard." German psychologists advise doing this.

Recorded attacks will help to assess the strength of opponents, to understand who exactly belongs to them, what is the role of each defendant and whether the attack can be called well-planned and systematic. In addition, having in front of your eyes the actual scheme of military operations, you can develop a set of response measures.

Identify the instigator

Almost certainly the initiative comes (or originally came) from one person. Perhaps, even without analyzing your records, you will be able to identify him - most likely, this is the one with whom you have an unresolved conflict. Now is the time to try to establish contact with the ringleader and eliminate the quarrel. Perhaps a confidential or, conversely, tough conversation will help out. If the instigator is a really authoritative person, mobbing should come to naught.

Find the “weak link”

In ancient Roman stadiums, even after the most boring fights, there were citizens raising their thumbs up out of a desire to save the lives of negligent gladiators. Among the attacking colleagues, there will also certainly be those who, deep down, sympathize with you and are silent during the discussion of your new tie with polka dots. By approaching them, you will practically infiltrate the saboteur behind enemy lines. From now on, when talking about your odious person, approving voices will sometimes be heard.

Find companions in misfortune

It is likely that you are not the only one who is mobbed in your friendly team. If one of your colleagues is also constantly forced to endure attacks and provocations from colleagues, you will probably have a couple of common topics for conversation with him. It is unlikely that you will be able to conclude an invincible alliance, but at least you will have a psychological outlet that will help you deal with other problems faster.

Eliminate mistakes at work

Even if the office has turned into a psychological battlefield for you, this does not mean that you need to forget about work. Your opponents are just waiting for you, carried away by confrontation with them, to begin to ignore your immediate duties. Believe me, run to your boss and shout: "Ivanov again failed to supply pumps to the regions!" — will be the greatest joy for them. Avoiding this is clearly in your best interest. Starting a conflict with colleagues who dislike you, work as if your life directly depends on it. By the way, in a sense, it is.

Appeal to the strong

Any competent leader understands that mobbing in his team harms business. Naturally, he will try to prevent it. Therefore, after a particularly insidious provocation, do not hesitate to draw the attention of your boss to it. Most likely, he will intervene (unless, of course, he is the main mobber - in which case you are already looking for a new job).

And in general, since they are trying to denigrate you in every possible way in front of your superiors, demonstrate your whiteness and fluffiness at the first opportunity. But it is better to avoid reciprocal attacks towards colleagues - in such a situation, not all means are good.

Risk group

If you fall into one of these categories, the likelihood of being mobbed increases dramatically.

  • Outside employee

    Serfdom was abolished over 150 years ago, but it is still customary to buy especially valuable souls. Such an employee in a new place receives privileges in at least three parameters: salary, attention from superiors, and hostility of colleagues.

  • Inexperienced beginner

    If you haven't served in the army and avoided hazing, at your first job you will surely have to taste all its charms with a vengeance. This, of course, is not exactly mobing, but it can also lead to thoughts of dismissal.

  • Pensioner

    “Way for the young!” Under the guise of such a life-affirming slogan, comrades under the age of 50 and older are accused of sclerosis, senile dementia, outdatedness, and other traits incompatible with work. If you turned out to be such a pensioner and do not occupy the chair of a director or minister, mobbing towards you is almost inevitable.

What if you are the boss?

Having achieved a more or less high position, you actually exclude yourself from the number of potential mobbing targets. However, looking down on the mouse fuss of your subordinates is the worst thing a boss can do. Mobbing is detrimental to the team as a whole. Talking about work in conditions when more than half of the employees are busy spreading rumors and weaving intrigues is simply pointless. Therefore, to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of mobbing in the team entrusted to you, take into account the following.

Get rid of thieves

If you can influence the selection of personnel in any way, introduce a strict taboo on hiring relatives and old friends of your employees. The presence of tribal clans naturally leads to the emergence among them of a sense of their own elitism and impunity. Practice shows that it is among such melded "cabals" that mobber initiatives are most often born.

True, the situation can turn out to be exactly the opposite: a hired relative will take a vacancy that one of the "veterans" has long dreamed of. He will lead the team to attack the newcomer.

Enter communism

We do not call you to build a welfare society in a single collective. Just try to provide subordinates with more or less equal working conditions and pay.

  • For example, do not allow new office chairs with a back massager and a built-in coffee maker to arrive to employees in turn: if you are going to upgrade workplaces, then all at the same time.
  • Make it as difficult as possible for employees to find out about payroll numbers.
  • Finally, avoid having favorites, especially females, or at least keep your sympathies secret.

Provide access to information

If some information about the affairs of the company is not intended for a limited circle of users, such as top management, it should be really public. Various kinds of meetings, planning meetings and meetings help to make them so.

Learn more