If you don’t deal with harassment others will
The big news to Broadspring this week was the termination of a business deal between Launch Vic and a company called 500 Start Ups essentially over sexual harassment.
Reported by Smart Company rather than direct HR news sources, this decision to end a business relationship over company culture.
Earlier in the year the US CEO had allegations of sexual harassment made public amidst claims that the start up support was sexist and consistently sexually harassed female entrepreneurs.
It may have been the actions of only one man but that man was the CEO.
What goes on at the top is interpreted as what is condoned, if not encouraged, within the company as a whole.
The female Victorian CEO resigning this month was the final straw for Launch Vic who said that without a local strong relationship the deal couldn’t progress. The CEO resigned as she went to Silicon Valley and found competing priorities and a business with a lot on its plate.
Why is this HR news?
1. Culture affects behaviour, and behaviour affects customers, business partners and suppliers
What goes on inside the business is observable to those on the outside and judgements will be made
2. People talk about the way they are treated by others. This is how reputations are built and broken.
Social media allows views to be shared very widely.
3. A business making internal changes especially to culture should not underestimate the energy and resources that making widespread change requires.
The comment of “competing priorities” suggests that 500 StartUps is trying to make significant change while growing and expanding the core business. Could be trying to do too much too soon.
Are you managing cyberloafing and presenteeism?
Presenteeism has possibly been rife over winter with staff returning to work too early after an illness or not going home soon enough. The problem with presenteesim has staff physically present but not fully able to do their work.
Many of us have done this at one time or another, the problem occurs when it is more common than not with staff distracted by illness or issues outside of work.
Cyberloafing is perhaps a variant on this occurrence where staff go online for non work related activities during work time.
It may be the new fancy name for goofing off but some research shows a serious and dark underbelly to the behaviour.
It is stealing company time and can be associated with psychological traits of self interest, manipulation and arrogance.
None of which you want to observe in large doses in your employees.
In some instances, a little bit of “web surfing” is tolerated as a bit of a break from pressure and considered one of the “swings and roundabouts” of a trust based working relationship
Problems occur when
– work falls behind
– internet usage costs increase
– content being accessed is not consistent with company standards
– sites accessed reduce security or allow access by malicious third parties
From a HR perspective what can you do?
1. Have clear policy (as always) Being clear on the standards of behaviour that are expected makes it easier to have conversations about what is and is not reasonable behaviour
2. Encourage clear and strong accountability within the team. Enforcing the rules can only go so far – by reminding people that they are accountable for their performance/work output and that this is what links to their recognition and reward they will be encouraged to make better decisions
3. Reasonable personal use of company resources has long been held as a simple way to show employees that they are trusted, and people who feel trusted tend to perform better and be more engaged.
The challenge is to be aware of when that trust may be stretched or tested and act to re-establish the balance.
Don’t scrap performance reviews
As this is performance review season for many businesses, the social media news once again is filling with those crying for the termination of performance reviews.
Let’s get one thing very clear – your system for managing reviews may need to be scrapped, but the process of providing feedback must always be retained.
Performance feedback should be:
– timely. As close as possible to the time of the event especially if/when an error is made.
Take action to correct that fast.
– a two way process that engages both the employee and the manager in the conversation
– regular enough that there are no surprises in what is said
– linked to goals, role responsibilities and observable outcomes
– provided to every employee
Employee surveys almost always include data showing that the relationship with their manager and clarity on how they are doing are critical success factors.
Get then wrong and good employees leave.
Get them right and you will have good employees.
If your performance reviews are coming up, please take the time and make the effort to have good quality conversations.