Archive for the ‘Sensitivity Training’ Category

Happy HR Hangover!

It’s a brand new year and everyone is back in the office after the holidays, the vacations, and the parties.

Everyone is eager to get the focus back on work after the distractions of the holiday season.

Except . . . there is this picture floating around people’s phones – you know – it’s so and so with so and so, or maybe it’s a picture of so and so’s, uhhh… such and such …

What makes for a sitcom laugh (or even the focus of a great night out), can make for a devastatingly distracting nightmare at the office … all from one little text picture of one moment from the holidays.

Maybe it was “all in good fun” and maybe you think nobody was really hurt – it was just some people blowing off steam at the end of an intense year – the critical difference is that with today’s technology, that moment is preserved … forever… and it’s making its way around your office – and there is someone in your company who does not think it’s funny.

That little picture can become a distracting nightmare if left unaddressed so here are 5 Tips to help you get over the Holiday Hangover:

TIP #1:  Don’t Ignore It
.  With today’s social media and internet connectivity, that picture will never go away.  Even if people stop talking about it next week, it’s not going away.  In fact Facebook recently launched “Timeline” which allows someone to string together a history of photos or post from the beginning of time.  The photo will emerge from the archive in a few month or years when someone feels slighted, passed over, or hurt – either professionally or personally.  And the longer it sits in the archives, the stronger and more dangerous it gets.

TIP#2:  You’re On Notice.
  If you know about it, you are “on notice”.  You don’t have to wait for a “formal complaint” or for someone to step forward.  When you are made aware of a potential harassment issue, you must react quickly. Your response is “urgent and important”.  Even if nobody has filed a complaint or picked up the hotline – if you are in HR, legal, or in any management role and you are aware of it – your company is “on notice”.

TIP#3:  Take it Seriously.
  If someone comes to you with a complaint, even if you think “it’s not a deal” – take the process of receiving the complaint seriously and make sure the complainant understands the seriousness with which you are receiving the information.  Taking it seriously doesn’t necessarily mean firing someone or unleashing HR Defcon 1, but it does mean responding and taking some actions.

TIP#5:  Take Remedial Action. One on one sensitivity training will afford the subject of the complaint an opportunity to learn from the experience and grow professionally, whilegroup sensitivity training will establish (or reestablish) the expectations the organization has of it’s people.

TIP#4:  Act Quickly. 
 Once you are “on notice”, the clock is ticking – and down the road when a complaint is filed – you will be judged on how long you took after being on notice to respond.  Don’t dump this to the “deal with later pile” – take action NOW – this month and nip it in the bud before it has a chance to grow into something it doesn’t have to.

Remember, the standard is “Prompt and Remedial Action” and the clock is ticking.  Even if “it’s just a little picture following a few drinks at the holiday party” – ignored and unaddressed, it can come back to haunt you, the people in the picture and the entire organization larger and more distracting to the company than if you hit it quickly, right now, while everyone is still just a tad hung-over.

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