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#Me Too – Protect your employees and your business from sexual harassment complaints

#Me Too – Protect your employees and your business from sexual harassment complaints

#Me Too – Protect your employees and your business from sexual harassment complaints.

Sexual Harassment cases have hit the media at an alarming rate. Businesses found to be at fault for allowing sexual harassment at work are at risk of losing a lot of money. When it happens to small businesses, it could mean the loss of the business itself. Here are some tips to protect your business. Having a policy lays the groundwork for how to identify hassment and what to do it occurs.

Have a Policy

Include a policy in your employee handbook that describes what sexual harassment is. Also include what the employee should do if they believe they are being harassed. Te employee should understand who to speak with and have a couple of options of people they can speak with.  Options should include leaders of different genders and someone not in the direct line of supervision of the employee. Train supervisors on how to listen to complaints and take them seriously.


Managers and supervisors must be accountable to listen to the complaint, understand that it is not okay to blow it off, and know what the next step is that they are responsible to take. Not taking complaints seriously is a big problem and only causes more problems.  This is serious for the employee and your business, make sure you investigate.

Investigate the Complaint

The owner of the company, or their designee, should thoroughly investigate the complaint by talking to other employees who may have overheard conversations or been a witness to inappropriate conduct. Be discreet, but investigate. Don’t make the mistake of appearing that the issue is not important (by not investigating immediately). And don’t make statements to others that appear that you are not taking the complaint seriously. Document all conversations as you gather the information and act immediately.

Act Immediately

Once you gather the information, act on the information. When complaints are found to be valid, it may be the best decison for your business to terminate the harasser. If the complaint is found to be a misunderstanding that doesn’t appear to be harassment, document it. Communicate to the harasser that the behavior has been misinterpreted and put them on notice to be more aware of their behavior. Don’t leave out the step of getting back to the complainant and letting them know what you found. If you are in doubt, get some professional help.

Get Professional Help

Often it is a good idea to have someone outside the company investigate the complaint. It send a message to the complainant that you are taking it seriously and want an unbiased investigator. Wise HR can help you with investigating complaints. Finally, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney who specializes in labor and employment relations to make sure you are doing what you need to do to protect your employees and your company.

Take the complaints seriously, your business is important.

Do you have credibility?

Do you have credibility?

Most of us consider ourselves as being credible. But are you really? In the book, The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, the authors tell us from their extensive research that credibility is the foundation of leadership. Turns out employees and customers are paying attention to whether or not our words match our actions. It matters if we are honest, forward looking, inspiring and competent, which all point to our credibility. Credibility matters to our employees because they want to feel good about the organization they work for.

Employees want to be proud of the organization and when their immediate manager is credible, they are proud to tell others about where they work. They also have a strong sense of team spirit when the organization is credible.  Employees want to align with the organization and it creates a great team environment. When the employee’s values and the company values match – it really matters. The employee is more engaged, feels attached and committed to the organization. It creates a sense of ownership of the organization – it is about “we” not “them.” So how do you create a credible organization? It’s all about “doing what you say you will do!”

What does credibility look like at your company? It looks like you practice what you preach, walk the talk and put your money where your mouth is!  Sometimes the longest distance for us to walk is from our mouth to our feet! But your employees are watching – they are paying attention – and it matters. When your employees are proud of the organization they work for, they are more engaged, they make more sales, are more efficient, they come to you with ideas and they feel like a valuable part of your team. So how do you know if you are perceived as credible?

If you want to know if you are perceived as credible, talk to your employees. Ask them to honestly rate you on your credibility – hopefully they trust you enough to give you an honest answer. Another way is to pay attention to your talk – the promises you make. Are your actions consistent with your words? Make a list of the things you’d like to be known for, the values you hold dearly, what really matters to you. At the end of the day, take an inventory and see if your values match what you spent time on during the day and week. Credibility matters – and we all notice and judge credibility every day!

Hope is Not a Strategy

Hope is great for things like “I hope I win the lottery!” Or “I hope that this person I like is at the event I’m going to so I can talk with him.” What you need instead of hope is a STRATEGY!

But when it comes to your business or your personal future, hope it just not enough. Waiting for the perfect client to show up at your door or the perfect person to fill the job opening you are in desperate need of filling – well, that is just procrastinating!

What are you hoping for right now in your business or personal life?  Are you stuck, hoping and not moving – as in parked and need to change the gear to drive? It is great to have faith and a positive attitude – but it is also necessary to get moving. That requires changing the gear from park to drive. And you also need to figure out where you are going, and as in driving it is best to figure out where you are going while you are still in park. To continue with the driving metaphor, once you have your road map (strategy) you can pick a lane and stay in it while you figure out whether or not you are getting the result you are looking for.

What is frustrating you right now? What are you hoping will change but aren’t doing anything about it? Spend some time brainstorming some action items that will take you out of that stuck place. It is always a good idea to get some input from others, experts in the field or people you admire and look to as a mentor. Once you feel you have gathered the information you need, take some action. Pick up the phone and make the call or send the email – whatever it is to get things moving. You can do this – change will happen! If you get it wrong the first time, look at it as a learning experience. Okay, you know what doesn’t work – what else could work? What will you try next?

Employee Development – Grey’s Anatomy Style

Employee Development – Throw the employee or team into the deep end of the pool and cheer them onto victory!

Employee development can happen in many ways. Have you ever been in a situation you didn’t expect to find yourself in and discover you had talents and abilities you didn’t know you had? Perhaps it was a customer who needed something from you that was outside your normal scope of work but for whatever reason, you decided that you would help the customer out so you did. Sound familiar? Sometimes through those experiences we uncover our hidden talents. And admittedly, sometimes we wish we had never agreed to go beyond our scope in the first place. I have had both experiences!

Sometimes I am reminded of good ideas in the strangest of ways. Let’s face it, HR lessons are everywhere if we keep our eyes open. Employee development Grey’s Anatomy Style! I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and in a recent episode I was impressed by the training experience that was set up for the Interns. It made me realize that sometimes it’s really great to throw trainees – and we’re all trainees by the way– into the deep end of the pool and watch them swim.

Learning Through Challenge

On this particular episode, Grey’s Anatomy had a patient with multiple issues and the more experienced Doctors stood by as the Interns took charge of caring for the patient. What happened is that a leader emerged, and individually, the Interns learned something about themselves that they didn’t know.  Employee development happened! Through the confusion and even arguments among the team, one of the Interns took on the leadership role and others followed. As the chaos was relaxed each Intern took care of the patient and performed well in a highly charged environment. Thankfully, few of us work in that highly charged environment every day. Even so, there are good lessons for employee development in this episode.

Lessons Learned in this Employee Development Activity

The lesson learned is that one way to promote employee development is to give an individual employee, or a team, a project even though they may have little to no experience. The project should be one that will be challenging and create the environment where the employee has the responsibility and the autonomy to take the project through completion. This is what I mean when I suggest they get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Of course, you are going to be by the sidelines, maybe having the employee or team check in with you periodically, and make sure no one dies in this process – like they did in the episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The personal and professional growth through these experiences can be enormous and the employee and/or team gains confidence in their skills.

The result of employee development activities like this, is an employee who feels more enjoyment and engagement in their job and is better at the job as a result of the experience. You can begin to delegate more to the employee – saving you time to work on bigger matters.

It is really fun to watch the employee’s experience from the sidelines.  It’s important that they feel your support, your encouragement and excitement for their new learning.

Do you have an employee or a team that could use a boost in confidence, engagement and job satisfaction? What is a project that you can pass onto them that will throw them into the deep end of the pool? What employee development tool will you choose?

Hi Ho – Hi Ho – It’s off to work we go….How You can positively impact Employee Satisfaction

The keys to happy employees and Improving Employee Satisfaction

Happy employees are by far more fun to around than the grumpy ones but beyond just more enjoyable to work with is the fact that Customer Satisfaction is directly related to Employee Satisfaction. We’ve all been to the retail store, grocery store or restaurant where we were greeted by the unhappy, often downright grumpy employee. As for our own grumpy employees, we may get used to them.  Yep, that’s “grumpy Ginger, that’s just the way she is.” But, our customers are not getting used to them and they may take their business somewhere else as a result.

So what is it that makes employees happy?

Sure, it varies somewhat from one employee to another but mostly it’s about these 5 things. Below are the top reasons for Happy Employees, listen in opposite order of importance to the employee.

#5   —   Money – sure it’s important but it is not the most important thing. Employees want to know they are paid fairly in comparison to others in the company and to their friends in similar jobs. They like to get raises – feel rewarded financially. But the good feeling that comes from getting a raise just doesn’t last that long.

4   –   More control over their time.  Companies who can be more flexible with their employees’ schedules and maybe provide a work-from-home option at least occasionally find happier employees.

#3 – Praise and recognition.  Managers who frequently let their employees know when they do a good job are rewarded with happier employees. Saying thank you and Great Job! really matters. Yes, more important than money!

#2 – A sense of belonging. When employees understand how the work they do fits into the company’s larger mission they are happier. Even more, if the employee buys into the company’s mission and has a passion for the products or services they produce, the employee feels as though they belong.

#1 – Camaraderie.The number one reason employees are happy at work is because they like the people they work with. Striking up friendships at work really matters. As employees come and go for a variety of reasons, the camaraderie can change so be aware of the value of those workplace friendships.

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