Research from Deloitte suggests that “70% of employees in a wide range of industries admitted to not speaking up about problems they saw even when they believed their organizations’ performance could suffer as a result.”  Bystander syndrome is not just about individual behaviour or even the response of HR. It’s a business issue. It’s clear that most people don’t know how to stage a Bystander Intervention or when it’s appropriate to do so.

One of the most important elements for any organisation wanting to foster a culture of inclusion is to create awareness. Specifically, how we can all help reduce toxic workplace cultures by staging a bystander intervention. Many companies encourage it, but don’t actually tell people how to go about it. Research has indicated that women can be more reluctant to intervene with a bystander intervention for fear of repercussions to their job security. This is especially true if those involved are senior and male. A bystander intervention can be an initiative which is very much in the hands of male colleagues.

People in minority groups and women are regularly demeaned and harassed in the workplace. This happens on an ongoing basis, every day. These “micro-aggressions” serve to create toxic and non-inclusive workplaces. It leads to a reduction in employee engagement and ultimately higher levels of employee attrition.  Employers need to give this priority because failure to do so will damage their employer brand.  We are focusing now on issues requiring bystander intervention that are verbal or procedural rather than physical. Clearly if a person is in physical danger then an alarm should be sounded for support, as well as doing what is practical at the time.



Creating a culture of psychological safety is a leadership issue but it’s a change process where we all need to play a part by shifting our behaviour from bystander to upstander. How often are we bystanders not upstanders? Sometimes we are not even aware that we are witnessing something that makes someone feel insecure. Or we shrug it off and let it go. Or we excuse poor or inappropriate behaviour.

Learn how to stage a Bystander Intervention

In this power coaching session you will find out:

  • what sort of behaviours potentially require a bystander intervention
  • the two opportunities to intervene
  • how you can start a constructive conversation
  • how to create a sustainable process


Thursday January 30th Live and Online at 12:00 GMT 13:00 CET (07:00 EDT)