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Will 2018 be the year that sexual harassment finally becomes a leadership priority?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Contributed by


 

HR West 2018 Partner  


Last week, we released new data from our Voice of the Workplace pulse on sexual harassment in the workplace. 
Along with our partner, NCHRA (producer of HR West), we sent this pulse to thousands of people from organizations of all sizes to get their thoughts on this increasingly important issue. 

Read on the HR West Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  harassment in the workplace  HR leadership  pulse  voice of the workplace  WAGGL 

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Why Targets of Harassment Keep Quiet, and What You Can Do to Avoid a Matt Lauer Situation

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Contributed by Catherine Mattice, HR West 2018 Speaker

In the last few months, a long list of perpetrators of harassment have emerged from politics, Hollywood, and television. Most recently, it was Matt Lauer, a familiar face that has graced the television screen of nearly every home in America. What is going on? And why in the world is all of this only now coming out?

Continue reading on the HR West Blog.

 

Tags:  effective leadership  harassment  harassment in the workplace  HR Leadership  HR West 2018  HR West Speaker  human resources management  Leadership  management 

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Micro-Aggressions in the Workplace: Identifying Problems and Working on Solutions

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Contributed by
Christine M Meadows, Vigilant

“I couldn’t talk to her; she was totally hysterical.”

“I don’t even think of you as being black.”

“That’s so gay.”

Micro-aggressions are those comments and interactions at work that leave employees feeling uneasy, angry, or upset – sometimes in ways that aren’t easily explained. Using a racial slur is an overt discriminatory act.  Micro-aggressions can come from people who mean no harm. The question to the multi-racial co-worker, “What are you?” may come from a real curiosity, but is rude and could carry an additional message that dismisses the racial identity of the person who hears it. In isolation these acts may not quite rise to the level of legal discrimination, but that single interaction communicates that a person is “other” or an outsider. Add up the experience of daily, weekly, and monthly micro-aggressions, and you could have a legally hostile work environment.

Micro-aggressions in the workplace manifest in different ways. Consider the following examples: 

  • Men talk to each other during a meeting and ignore the woman at the table, talking over her when she tries to contribute;
  • A manager tells an applicant of Chinese decent that he "speaks excellent English,” though it is obvious from his resume he was born and raised in the United States;
  • An African American manager gives a presentation and his Caucasian co-worker says she "had no idea he was so articulate.”

These types of interactions are not likely to find their way to upper management. Employees who already feel marginalized may never bring the issue forward, afraid of being labeled a whiner or of facing an unsympathetic supervisor or human resources representative. Confronting co-workers with the harmful impact of their statements may just make it worse (“I meant it as a joke/compliment. Why are you so sensitive?”), creating an additional burden on the employee who is already feeling marginalized.  If micro-aggressions are part of the organizational culture, the individual also has no reason to believe that organizational leadership will address it. As a result, these daily interactions can make an environment so intolerable over time that employees look for employment elsewhere.  

The truth is we probably have all been guilty of engaging in some form of micro-aggression at some point in time, intended or not. These subtle discriminations are born from our own internal biases.  Addressing micro-aggression must start with recognizing these internal biases and actively attempting to counter them. As an individual contributor within your organization, you can continue to learn and be honest with yourself about your own personal biases. Recognize that your experiential reality may be different from people of different races, gender, ethnicity, and age. Don’t be defensive about the fact that you have preconceptions or defend the basis for your personal biases.  Acknowledge that the feelings of others are valid and based on their life experiences.  Be willing to discuss your biases and recognize how you may have hurt others, even unintentionally. Have the courage to call attention to micro-aggressive behavior when it occurs. For example, “Steve, we’ve been talking over Sue and she has an interesting point. Let’s give her our full attention.”  Micro-aggressions can make people feel excluded; be vigilant about supporting colleagues who may feel marginalized.

In addition, organizations must work on a broader scale to create a culture in which everyone treats each other with respect. To accomplish this, many major corporations regularly engage in implicit bias training with their employees to increase their individual awareness. In a culture where it is safe, even encouraged, to bring up and discuss perceived micro-aggressions, the behavior tends to decrease. For example, the woman who was born in Ohio and is of Asian-American descent when asked, “Where were you born?” may perceive the question as one framing her as a stranger in her own country. The co-worker may have meant, “Were you born in Columbus?” and will be more likely to rephrase the question in a sensitive manner if the organization can provide safe and effective communication tools that bring micro-aggressions into the open. By discussing these issues, everyone gains a better understanding of each other. For that to occur, both employees must feel safe and trust the environment to allow honest conversations to happen.

While it sounds deceptively simple, addressing micro-aggressions in the workplace is not an easy thing to accomplish. It requires a long-term commitment to organizational values that holds everyone accountable to themselves and their co-workers for managing their biases in the workplace. The bottom line is that organizational change starts with individuals, and as individuals, it starts with us. Respect each other, everyone, no exceptions.

 

Christine Meadows is an employment and labor attorney at Vigilant

 

Tags:  employee relations  employment law  harassment in the workplace  micro-aggressions  organizational culture  organizational values 

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Calculating the High Cost of Employee Turnover

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By Matthew Coleman - Marketing Manager, MyEmployees


 

There’s a disease silently infecting the modern American business world today. It lurks in the background, silently eating away at the bottom line of your company. This silent destroyer of business profits is known as your “employee turnover equation,” and it affects small businesses and corporations alike.


I’ll not bore you with stats detailing the billions of dollars lost annually to this problem. In reality, when the numbers get that large, people tend to accept them as the norm. What you need is a simple employee turnover calculator to understand exactly how it is affecting YOUR business. Once you’ve got an idea what you’re losing, there are a few simple steps you can implement to regain some of that lost profitability.

Most businesses know, on some level, that the cost of employee turnover is a problem. They view it as a mere inconvenience that must be dealt with, a cost of doing business. That’s until you put a dollar amount on its effect. Even seeing an “estimate” of what you’re losing will shock you!


See for yourself! Here’s an employee turnover calculator to help you understand just how much money employee turnover truly costs YOUR business each year. Once business owners, HR managers, CFOs, and CEOs get a look at the real numbers lost each year, quarter or even a single month... they need to take a hard look at what needs to be done to slow that tide.

Example: Let’s say you have 100 employees. Each year, you have 15% turnover. When those employees leave for whatever reason, you have to train new employees to fill the open positions. If it takes 2 weeks to train each new employee, at 40 hours per week, on a $8 hourly salary for the new employee, and a $25 hourly salary for the trainer, you’re looking at $42,768 per year! And that doesn’t even cover recruiting!

Those are just blind estimates.  Take a minute to input your data into the employee turnover calculator to get a true number for your own business. Prepare to be shocked!

While you can’t stop employee turnover completely, you can take steps to diminish it. Examine your company culture for ways to improve employee engagement. Find ways to inspire employees to take more pride in their job by asking them for input on how to do their tasks more efficiently. Survey employees and ask their thoughts on how the workplace can be improved (and then implement do some of the suggestions!). Create an employee recognition platform that recognizes people for their effort, and awards them regularly and consistently.

It’s a proven fact! When employees are engaged, they work harder, are more efficient, and take pride in what they do. A “World Class” atmosphere of teamwork develops. A cooperative, competitive spirit blossoms, encouraging everyone to be a better employee and a better person. People stop coming to work because they have to, and start coming because they want to. They are more productive and happier. That means fewer performance-based layoffs and fewer top producers leaving your company for greener pastures.

Engaged employees have significantly lower levels of absenteeism, on the job accidents, and fewer HR issues. What is that doing to your bottom line every year? According to Gallup Research, companies with high levels of employee engagement are 400% more profitable. Yes, 400%!! Pair that increase in productivity and profitability with the savings from reduced turnover, and your business can expect exponential growth in sales and profits.

Many of the factors affecting true employee engagement need to be customized for each business. A great place to start is an employee survey. Find out what employees think about the business and work environment. You may uncover hidden systemic issues that contribute to your high rate of employee turnover.

 

Another excellent place to start is a consistent recognition platform. One of the most basic human needs is to feel appreciated. From a business perspective, a recognition program can reward and inspire employees while at the same time achieving company goals and objectives. It’s not magic; it's all about criteria. Check out this video for more about that: How can an Employee Recognition program increase profitability.

Employee turnover is an infection, but it doesn’t have to be a killer. The first step is using a simple employee turnover calculator to put a dollar amount on just how much it costs your business. Once you understand that, you can easily justify any investment in employee engagement and employee recognition to shrink your turnover rate drastically. Not only will you be saving the headache of replacing many of your employees, but you’ll be investing in the massive growth potential and profitability of your business.


About the Author

Matthew Coleman is the Marketing Manager for 
MyEmployees. The mission of MyEmployees is to engage America’s workforce, one manager, one employee at a time… forging stronger companies in the process. Twitter: @matthewjcoleman
 


Tags:  Bay Area  behavior  California  cost  cultural  culture  diversity  engagement  harassment in the workplace  HR  human resources  leadership  management  my  NCHRA  San Francisco  turnover  workforce  workplace 

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The Face of Workplace Bullying

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Jennifer Hancock - Humanist Learning Systems and the The Bully Vaccine Project.

 

Workplace bullying can happen to anyone and the effects are devastating.

 

What does workplace bullying look like? Check out this report from the CBC in Canada about a woman who successfully filed a workplace bullying lawsuit against Walmart and won. 

This woman, Meredith, explains how, when she was asked to do something illegal and refused, her manager started harassing her. Weirdly so. He singled her out for ridicule among the staff. She was able to document it fully and yet, the company sided with the manager and she lost her job. But, her evidence did convince the jury and she won the lawsuit and was awarded $1.4 million in compensation – which was reduced to $400,000 – still a lot of money.

The court found that the abuse was flagrant and resulted in real documented physical illness in the victim. Every business owner and HR manager out there needs to consider the outcome of the case very carefully. Meredith seems like a very bright, rational and calm person. Sane even. And yet, the guy who was going booglety to her in front of the staff kept his job. She had enough evidence of abuse to convince a court to side with her, and yet her company – sided with her abuser.

It is well known that most companies don’t conduct fair investigations. When report of abuse is made, the tendency is to circle the wagons and eliminate the whistleblower.

What I want to appeal to you is this – if you are in HR, don’t succumb to that temptation. Don’t succumb to the pressure to sweep this problem away. I realize that sticking up for what is right against a workplace bully is costly – economically and socially and it can cost you your job. I get that. But your company needs you to fight this. Keeping the abusive employee and letting an honest employee go is not a net win for the company. It’s a loss.

Society needs you to fight this. As long as we keep tolerating bullying, it will continue to happen. And it’s costly! Not just from a liability standpoint. But also because there is no way Meredith was the only victim of this abusive boss. Bullies NEVER had a single victim.

Now – if you are currently being victimized, please understand how important it is to document what’s happening fully. It will give you the best chance of getting things resolved within the organization, and if that fails, it will give you the documentation you need to file a lawsuit if it becomes necessary. You are fighting a good fight. It may seem like you are alone, but on behalf of all of the other silent victims – I thank you.


 

About the Author

Jennifer Hancock is the founder of Humanist Learning Systems, a provider of online continuing education for personal and professional development as well as behaviorally based harassment compliance training (AB 1825/2053 compliant). Her Bully Vaccine Project blog is a place to learn about why bullies bully and what can be done about them. Jennifer is an approved provider for HRCI, SHRM and the State Bar of California. For more information, visit: https://humanistlearning.com.



 

Tags:  bullying in the workplace  bullying lawsuit  harassment in the workplace  HR  NCHRA  stop bullying in our workplace  victim of bullying  workplace  workplace bully  workplace bullying 

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