Do your managers and staff need training in equal opportunities and discrimination?
To see if you do, how would/should you, your managers, and the women involved handle these situations?
1. For over a year, Jane has had to deal with her boss, James, calling her “sweetheart,” “honey,” and “doll.” This has continued despite several conversations with James. After a couple of drinks, Jane told a work colleague how upsetting she finds this. What should her colleague do? What would she do in your organisation?
2. Sarah is a new manager, and one of her direct reports, Tom, accidentally sent her an email he intended to send to his friends. In the email Tom asks for advice on how to deal with a female boss. What should Sarah do? What would she do in your organisation?
3. In a one to one with Lydia, Steve commented on her being a better Mum than an employee. When she questioned what he meant, he said that this was a compliment. What should Lydia do? What would she do in your organisation?
4. Sam works in accounting. Every time her co-worker, Mike, sees her, he comments on her appearance. When she brought this to his attention, he replied, “You don’t know how to take a compliment.” What should Sam do? What would she do in your organisation?
It may be easy to say what each of the women should do in these situations. If you would like my answers, I am happy to send them to you.
But what would really happen, in practice in your business?
Maybe you can say ‘this would never happen in our business’. But is your business really ready to face the reality of situations like this? Are your managers brave enough to tackle these situations if they come to their attention?
Our leadership training is based on 3 things:
a) Clarity – facing up to reality within your business
b) Strategy – developing a strategy to respond to this type of issue
c) Courage – having the courage to tackle such issues head on
Thousands of pounds are lost each year by businesses paying out women who have experienced situations like this – payments to silence them and avoid tribunal claims.
Thousands of pounds are spent by businesses each year paying employment lawyers to handle this sort of claim.
Thousands of pounds are paid by businesses each year in compensation where such claims are successful.
Thousands of pounds are paid each year by businesses recruiting replacements for employees who have been driven out of the business by this type or behaviour.
Instead, I would suggest that you invest a thousand pounds or so in ensuring that you:
• establish practices and procedures where such behaviour is unlikely to occur
• develop a strategy for dealing with situations where this type of behaviour may have occurred
• give managers the courage and skills to tackle equal opportunities and discrimination issues that have occurred
If you are interested in training to help with these matters do get in touch.