What Is Corporate Hazing? Here Is How Can You Protect Yourself

Hazing incidents continue to happen in workplaces, leading to severe distress, lack of psychological safety, and mental health issues among the employees. But how many people dare to speak out or report such instances? Furthermore, do most people even know who to report this type of behavior to?

How many individuals even recognize that they are being hazed and these practices are not a cultural norm? TYP will answer this question and a few similar ones to help you break down the concept of “corporate hazing” and how you can seek assistance to stop such malicious practices in your workplace.

Do you remember your first week at your first job? The natural case of nerves and dread of making mistakes or the sheer thought of embarrassment might have taken a hold of you!

Thinking back of your first few days at a corporate office, were you warned of any ‘fun’ and ‘pranks’ that may happen to a new employee or intern?

These prior warnings may have conditioned you to believe that corporate hazing is part and parcel of corporate life, and as a new addition to the team, you must bear it like everybody else!

No! This is not right, and this needs to come to an end!

To help spread awareness about this practice, let’s take a few steps back and understand what comprises hazing.

What Is Meant By Corporate Hazing?

Corporate hazing is an umbrella term used to refer to a wide range of behaviors that leave an employee feeling threatened, humiliated, and harassed.

These vile practices are usually applied to new employees by seniors in the organization to either intimidate them or to lay the foundation of a false pretense of job insecurity and other means of exploitation.

The perpetrators usually concealed these activities like jokes and harmless pranks to negate the consequences of the said activity. It can be pegged under corporate hazing, whether it is useless paperwork to waste a new teammate’s time or force them to perform a task that leads to discomfort.

Traditionally, hazing is considered an ‘ice-breaking’ activity that helps indoctrinate a new team member. While bullying occurs between individuals, hazing involves a group of employees.

A glance at a few severe occurrences reveals a series of lawsuits launched against companies where employees were locked and held against their will.

What Qualifies As Hazing?

Indoctrination of a new team member should not entail embarrassment or distress for them! On the contrary, every individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their years of experience.

Any congratulatory practice is welcome as long as it does not cause psychological or physical harm to the recipient.

A few common hazing behaviors include:

  • Belittling an individual’s opinions to humiliate them 
  • Constantly criticizing an individual to the limit of endangering their mental health
  • Initiation activities that involve threats
  • Pinning any object on an individual’s skin
  • Oral or written messages to humiliate or belittle a person
  • Forceful engagement in harmful, demeaning, and illegal acts
  • Malicious tricks
  • Abuse of water
  • Forced consumption of food, drugs, alcohol, and any other substances
  • Soliciting or coercing acts of hazing
  • Spreading rumors, gossip, and innuendo with malicious intentions
  • Yelling or resorting to profanity

Addressing Corporate Hazing Head On

Is your organization facing hazing and bullying incidents? Now is the time to direct attention towards the cause!

Hazing and bullying behaviors often result in absenteeism and absent-mindedness!

Hazing is adverse conduct that can be troublesome for every organization’s hierarchy. It leads to loss of productivity and turnover and a negative impact on the morale of the junior level employees – this occurs in traditional and remote workplaces

A few strategies can be used to address this issue in your workplace.

  • There may not be a legal framework to address hazing as a crime, but the individual acts can be criminalized if they involve harassment, assault, and illegal activities. Learn about these behaviors to protect yourself and your vulnerable team members.
  • Enquire with your organization about rules against hazing, bullying, and harassment. Unfortunately, many employers enable hazing behaviors by focusing on gendered harassment instead of addressing the abuse of power!

What Can An Employer Do?

Several employers tend to ignore hazing incidents due to the guise of harmless fun. Instead, it is tagged as a ‘bonding experience’ without giving much thought to the repercussions and divisions amongst the employees.

In this age of awareness and instantaneous results, an employer must establish a solid framework to prevent hazing within the organization. This would entail a three-step process that can be initiated once and then developed after a milestone or two.

  1. Start An Awareness Program To Help Recognize Hazing In The Workplace
  2. Build Trust Among The Employees With A Strong Policy
  3. Reinforce The Policy

1. Change Is Not An Event But A Process

Unannounced changes are often hard to adopt, even if they support a critical cause. This means that an organization must provide sufficient awareness and information. A conference, pamphlet, or internal campaign can bring attention to the cause.

2. Strengthen Your Team

Strengthen the team to ensure that they can trust you. Inform them about the policy and be authentic towards the team’s mental health. The organization must become a shield for the employee instead of making them vulnerable to the vices of seniors!

3. Take Action Where Necessary

If you have received complaints about a specific employee, it is essential to take action against them. This will help your team trust you and even teach perpetrators a lesson to avoid this harmful conduct.

Final Takeaway

Whether you are on the brink of starting a corporate job or know others who might need a little help, Texas Young Professionals is here for your assistance. You can seek assistance and find the answers you are seeking!