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Human Resources

How to Work with Backstabbers

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pottstown-weekend-marketWhen you think about backstabbers, your first impression is to run away.  Keep away from them, in fact, you can find in Proverbs, when you see evil, run away from it. 

The problem is, we are not aware of the backstabbers until it is too late.  At least, that’s what we want to tell our conscious self.  In reality, we usually know who these people are.  God let us know early in the game, as soon as we are exposed to this person, he tells, “don’t trust, her”, but we usually don’t listen.  He gives us a feeling deep inside of our soul, he makes us aware of words, comments of this person, but we pretend, we didn’t get it… until it is too late.

Ladies, open your eyes and know, that everyone is not going to like you!  And that is perfectly fine, not everyone like pizza or fried chicken, and that is OK.    It was the hardest thing for me to understand.  Very early in my career, I noticed that some people would tend to gravitate towards me and others didn’t.  I didn’t understand why, and it hurt.  And one day, winning about with a friend, he was a good friend, a lawyer and judge, who told me “Fay, this is not a popularity contest, leadership is about making decisions and doing what you need to do for the organization.  There will be people who like you and others may not.”  I learned to deal with it and had to navigate through a lot of backstabbing, and yes, I survive it all.  The stories are too numerous to share, but they all taught me about people and about myself.

My Candid words to you:

At work, know your environment.  Understand the people that are around you, their needs and their goals.  If you do this, you can foresee, in advance, the qualities and behaviors of a backstabber.  Keep your career goals to yourself.  Share what is necessary and keep away from TMI (Too Much Information).  People at work, don’t need to know all about your life.  “Share with your eyes open.”

When you discover that someone is backstabbing other co-workers, be aware and keep your guard up.  Don’t take it personal, know that if she did it to others, she will do it to you.

If you are a product of a backstabber, you have to make a decision.

“Do I confront the person” or “do I pretend not to know”

Once you make up your own mind, go to work.

If you decide to confront the person:

  • Speak from your own point of view, your feelings and the results of the damage (if there was any)
  • Are you ready to clean up, if you need to take responsibility for your own actions, do so.
  • Brace yourself and listen to how the “backstabber” defend her actions or not.
  • You may go back and forth be careful not to keep wounding yourself or the other person.
  • Get to the point of an interpersonal agreement or contract.
  • Try not bring it up again once the “contract” was dealt with and signed. However, keep your guard up.
  • If she deny the allegations, be open to accept that she will not take responsibility.
  • Are your ready to agree to disagree?

 If you decide pretend not to know:

  • Have a plan.
  • Work on your heart and try that your attitude don’t become unproductive.
  • Don’t compromise your values.
  • Be clear on where you are and where you are going.
  • Be watchful of your conversation with this person and her friends/connections
  • Keep your work on point
  • Don’t be afraid to toot your horn.

Final words.  Believe or not, a backstabber may believe that she is justified. In many instances, they don’t feel that they are in fact, backstabbing.  They actually find that their behavior is justifiable in some way or form.  My question to you is, have you ever backstab yourself through self-doubt and self-sabotage?   You can move on from others, but can you move on from yourself and still be successful?  Keep your eyes on the price and believe in yourself, as you continue through your journey.

10409366_10153343055688825_2120688369892497368_nFay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF.  She is a Leadership and HR Strategist, Author and Master Trainer.  Fay has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 20 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish.  Fay works with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies.  She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market.  For more information, contact her at flawrence@globalprofilesgroup.com or visit the website at:  www.globalprofilesgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Office Politics Games

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As I work with professionals around the world, they all have something in common, office politics. I hear comments about how office politics is detrimental to the organization, how uncomfortable it is and how hard it is to deal with it.

Thinking that organizations are full of politics and politics should be eliminated, is an illusion. Politics in my books is the art of working with others under unwritten rules. The issue is, are you playing a game that you do not know or understand the rules? This premise can be dismissed by those who can’t see the benefits of “politics” in the workplace. It’s like having a goal of swimming to the middle of the ocean and not understanding that there are undercurrents that will pull you, debilitating your physical and spiritual body to the core. And, yes, you may or may not reach the shore in one piece. This is the reason you need understand the waters you are about to dive in, as the workplace politics you need to know and understand the inherent unwritten rules of your organization. If you do, you will know where to swim and where to avoid.

Organizations are not the only groups who are run through politics. Your family, your group of friends, your church or place of worship are all being managed through some level of politics. In fact, in any place where you have a group of people working together, you will find politics. Politics is how we get things done and how we relate to each other. It’s about communication, personalities, values and behaviors of the people who are members of a group. Denying that politics exist in any of the contexts mentioned above is being delusional.

The problem is not the “politics”, the problem centered on, not understanding the rules of “politics”. When you don’t know or understand the rules of engagement, you may misjudged, misunderstand or become complacent about the state of the environment at work. You may even think and complain about how unfair politics is but its all part of the game. If you want to advance in any organization, you just will need to learn how to play or create your own game.

You must see the big picture and realize that politics isn’t always bad and it’s not always good. Politics just is.

Dealing with politics.
I always recommend that you observe the dynamics of your family before you go observing the one of your organization. If you have your own business, assess your personal values and behaviors, who you relate the most with and how you make decisions.

  • Observe who talks to whom, who deals with whom, who make the decisions, who the leaders without titles are and who have the power, even if they don’t make business decisions.
  • Closely observe how people interact with one another. Listen carefully to what they say and how they relate to each other, who they listen to, how and what information they share.

2 Types of Politics you need to keep your eye on:

1. Power and Influence.
It is based on the duties, roles, tasks or work being performed. It’s the structure and leadership of the organization, how decisions are being made and how work is being performed.

2. Relationships and Informal Networks.
This type of politics is based on interpersonal relationships–who goes out with whom for lunch, shopping or happy hours, and who talks with whom during down time. This is the “gossip and power around the water fountain” type politics.

Get your Politics GAME on:

Now, how do you manage the “Politics” around you? Well, there are a couple of ways:
1. Know what you want, be specific about your future career goals.
2. Create a plan to reach goals and a roadmap to achieving your results.
3. Be positive and speak assertive words, but watch them carefully.
4. Exude confidence, not perfection.
5. Listen more, say less.
6. When necessary, refrain from challenging opposing views and low blows to preclude escalation of the conflict. Remember, First Lady Michele Obama’s statement–“When they go low, we go high.” – practice and keep it in mind at all times.
7. Be clear on your point of view.
8. Keep your guard up. Make a conscious effort to make friends and nurture a network of them at, and away from, the job.
9. Keep away from GOSSIP!
10. When things get “hot” because of opposing views, people take sides, chaos shows its ugly head, choose wisely, who will get your support. When you do, be accountable for your decision. Make your decision reflect your deepest values.
11. Keep your personal life, personal. Be intentional and guarded about what you share. There’s nothing confidential about what’s said publicly or privately at work. If you want to talk about private, personal matters, go to Jesus.
12. When you’re making decisions, keep the greater good in mind.
13. Make it all about Business, not Personal. And, remind yourself that “it’s not just about me!” The fate and direction of the company could be at stake as well as your livelihood.
14. Don’t let ANYONE make you compromise your values
15. If the political game is played in every aspect of the organization and you don’t like it, move on.

Final words
Again, politics is not necessarily good or bad, it can bring people together or tear them apart. But ultimately, it’s not the politics that make or break, it comes down to your attitude and how well you play the game. How flexible or sensitive you are about internal issues. A big part of that is learning to be intentional with your words and behavior. If the organization doesn’t nurture your values or goals, you should transition into an environment that will help you soar to new heights. But, do it wisely, methodically, and mindfully!

F10409366_10153343055688825_2120688369892497368_nay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF. She is a Leadership and HR Strategist, Author and Master Trainer. Fay has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 20 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish. Fay works with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies. She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market. For more information, contact her at fay@globalprofilesgroup.com or visit the website at: www.globalprofilesgroup.com

Elevate your Career, Become the Next Boss Lady

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What does the term BOSS mean to you?  Does the term evoke visions of something positive or something negative?  Do you consider yourself a boss or leader? Before making a decision, consider that a boss in most cases is seen as the leader, the person who takes charge, is in charge, and is an influencer.  Most importantly, a boss is the woman who creates results through teamwork.

 The more I work with women, the more I realize that most of us don’t see ourselves as bosses, leaders or influencers even when we hold positions of power.  We tend to downplay our role to make it “easier” for others to relate and accept.  We pretend not to know that we are the ones leading the household, the office, and our own lives. 

In my role as the “trusted” career strategist and leadership coach, I encounter two types of women: The ones who are overly confident and act like the borderline “b…h”–the type no one wants to be around.  Then, the second one, is the competent, overly nice “one”, who is the go to person for everything in the organization—the type who ends up giving her all, but staying in supporting roles as she regretfully watches others climbing the corporate ladder, leaving her behind.  Years later, she is deflated, demotivated and angry while her teammates observe it all in disbelieve and heavy hearts.  Her bitterness and discontent is a result of her never giving those around her any indication of her aspirations, plans or desires.  If you don’t want to end up in this type situation, you need to express and share your career goals and desires to your boss.

As a high potential woman, with big desires, you have the responsibility to manage your career, your reputation and control your brand.  Yes, you do have a brand and you must become a Public Relations agent for the Brand called “YOU.”  If you are planning to climb the corporate ladder and elevate yourself to become the new boss, then let’s go to work.  Don’t feel discouraged thinking that only the “good ole boys” can reach to the top and stay there.  There is nothing farther from the truth–you can strategize and execute your plan to become the BOSS you were born to be.

As Jesus said, with God all is Possible and if you align your mind and your spirit to the desires of your heart, you can achieve anything.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.  God didn’t put the desire in your heart, if He believed you couldn’t carry it out.

Looking back throughout the beginning of my career, I can see God’s handy work through my journey.  There were times when I said yes to the wrong jobs, but God ALWAYS, found a way to get me out of those situations.  I went from intern in the Protocol Office in the Panama Canal Commission to Executive Vice-president for a Global Organization, and I can say that God always had my back. 

Seven Strategies To Your Shift Thinking Forward and Move You Towards Your Goals:

1.     Understand you! Be mindful of your self-image.  How do you see yourself?  This is the most important clue to your success.  If you don’t believe in yourself, you cannot get that promotion, the increase or your boss’ job–you just won’t get it.  Your mind can make you or break you.  Your duty is to be mindful of the chatter in your head.   Understand your routines and realize not all of your routines are healthy and can be detrimental to your success.  Reflect on the image you present and analyze what you need to start, stop or modify.

2.    Step out of your comfort zone and take on some challenges that will give you visibility.  However, if you’re sure you cannot perform the challenge even at the peak of your abilities, don’t do it.  Look for projects you can excel in.

3.    Give Credit where it is due and show gratitude.  Whenever someone helps you with a project, be humble and thank them for their commitment. 

4.    Help others grow and develop. When you see talent, nurture and celebrate it.  

5.    Be true to your values, this is the cornerstone of your leadership. Know what you stand for, what gets you upset, what’s acceptable to you and what‘s not.  Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.  Understand your triggers and create boundaries.

6.    Welcome feedback, set the example.  Feedback is a gift and you need to be open to this gift.  You should know your strengths and weaknesses but you must also be attentive to the observations of others. Be open to hear about their views of your shortcomings and strengths.  Set the example.

7.    Treat everyone with dignity and respect.  Understand that what goes around comes around.  People will talk to you and treat you, the way you treat yourself.  Show respect for yourself and others will follow.

As the Boss of your destiny and your career, you need to dress and act respectably–manage your brand wisely.  Please understand, that only God knows your heart, the rest of the world can only see how you’re packaged so don’t expect others to read your mind.   If you use these strategies, your journey to the top will be easier ride.  If you have any questions, feedback, or you want our free gift, just mention this article and contact me at fay@globalprofilesgroup.com.

F10409366_10153343055688825_2120688369892497368_nay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF.  She is a Leadership and HR Strategist, Author and Master Trainer.  Fay has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 20 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish.  Fay works with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies.  She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market.  For more information, contact her at fay@globalprofilesgroup.com or visit the website at:  www.globalprofilesgroup.com

Do YOU Have ANY Regrets?

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2015072695191042 (00000002)Do YOU Have ANY Regrets?

Stop Waiting to Die Before you Decide to Live

 One of my “childhood” friend recently passed away, we lost a beautiful human, a person that everyone grew to love immensely.  He was a wonderful friend, I cannot think of him having enemies or haters.  He had a million dollar smile as someone described him and a big heart.  He will surely be missed!  As I saw him for the last time, and heard all the wonderful things people said as we celebrated his life, I reflected upon my own life, my accomplishments, my fears, my family, friends and my relationship with My God.   When my time comes, what would be said about me?  But most of all, if I am blessed to know, that my time is getting short, would I have any regrets?  Then, I saw a vlog (Marie TV, http://www.marieforleo.com/2016/02/live-without-regret/), and she was talking about the regrets of the dying.   This was perfect timing.   I cannot talk for others, I can only talk for me… I made the decision, to get out of my comfort zone and go after some of those dreams, I have placed on hold.  I want to celebrate life, now!  Because tomorrow is not promised…Enjoy, my life, my love ones, now!

Attached is the article about the 5 Regrets of the Dying… read it, it may change the way you look at your life!  Let me know what you think, and share it if you know that it can help someone else.  Where are here to support each other.  http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/ http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/

A Business Degree Doesn’t Do Much for Your Resume

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Majoring in business does not improve one’s prospects of landing a job in business — but internships do, according to a study led by John M. Nunley at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. The researchers sent about 9,400 fictitious resumes to online job openings in business-related fields, such as finance, management, and marketing. Resumes were randomly assigned one of nine different majors (e.g., accounting, biology, economics, English, finance), and four resumes were submitted to each ad. Resumes with business degrees were not significantly more likely to lead to an interview, but resumes listing internship experience were 14% (2.2 percentage points) more likely to receive an interview request than those without. Internship experience may signal traits valued by employers, such as innate ability or advanced skills, the researchers suggest.

Source: College major, internship experience, and employment opportunities: Estimates from a résumé audit

No Sabes Cuánto Tiempo Tienes, da Gracias, Hoy

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_el Problema es que crees que tienes tiempo_Hace una semana falleció una compañera del colegio, la muerte de Maribel me dejo, perpleja y reflexionando sobre una frase que escuche hace unos meses atrás de mi Coach, que dice… “El Problema es que Crees que Tienes Tiempo.”  Como?  Si, Crees que tienes tiempo… y no lo tienes.  Siento decírtelo, pero tus días y los míos están contados y mañana no es prometido.  Cuando recibí el mensaje que Maribel falleció, me di cuenta, que yo soy una de las que está pensando que tiene tiempo para hacer todas las cosas en mi lista (y es larga).

Con todo esto y al ver que las fiestas de fin de nuevo año están a la vuelta de la esquina, quiero compartir con ustedes este deseo que tengo.

Sé, que Thanksgiving (Día de Acción de Gracias) no es un día feriado, ni celebrado en la mayoría de los países, sin embargo el principio de agradecimiento no tiene nada que ver con el pavo, pero todo que ver con la comunidad, las relaciones de familiares y amigos.

Personalmente es un día para recordar y dar gracias por lo que tengo.  Mañana, al reunirme con mi familia antes de la comida, nos tomamos de la mano y le damos gracias a Dios por las cosas que nos dio en este año, desde los niños hasta los grandes.  Es un ritual que me llena el corazón y me hace meditar de lo maravilloso que es mi vida (con lo bueno y con lo malo).  Esa emoción, me gustaría que durara todo el año y más que nada, me gustaría ver que otros tengan esa experiencia.

Me gustaría proponerte algo, NO, no quiero que cocines pavo, ni jamón mañana.  Te propongo un mes de DAR GRACIAS, un mes de agradecimientos.

Si,  por un mes, del 25 de Noviembre al 25 de Diciembre, toma 5 minutos de los 1440 minutos que tiene un día, para dar GRACIAS por 3 cosas, solo eso.  Sí, das gracias por 3 cosas que tienes actualmente, no lo que quieres tener, ni lo que Dios te prometió para el futuro.

Toma los primeros minutos de la mañana o los últimos de la noche, para dar gracias.  Vas a darle gracias a Dios, cada día por 3 cosas que tienes en este momento (por su presencia, tus manos, tus hijos, no se), oh, al describir las tres cosas, siente el agradecimiento con todas las fibras de tu corazón y de tu ser.  Importante,  las tres cosas deben ser diferentes cada día… no puedes repetir las cosas, cada día deben ser cosas diferentes, si lo sé, no es justo, pero yo sé que tienes mucho que agradecer.  Si quieres escribirlas, mucho mejor, así puedes observar tu crecimiento.

Te prometo, que si sigues estas instrucciones,  veras resultados, luego me cuentas en público o privado.  Feliz Mes de Acción de Gracias

Un abrazo

The Perfect Fit… A Hiring Journey

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Before you start your hiring process, it is key that you assess your own organization.    Hiring is like dating, the person you are searching for, needs to have chemistry with you and the organization.  The person don’t have to be like you, the person needs to complement you.

  1.  Understand the culture of your organization.  What type of people is successful andKilimanjaro what type of people don’t make it.  You have to be brutally honest with yourself.
    1. Know and understand your culture
    2. Know and understand your team and how this person will work with the rest of the team.
    3. Will the person deal with external customers or will this new employee deal only with your internal team.
  2. Clearly define the duties, responsibility and the competencies necessary for the job.  What will you tolerate and what are non-negotiable.
  3. Have a clear description of the type of person you want for the position.  Be descriptive in the ideal person and the personality that is required to be successful in the position.  This will help you when you start the interviewing process.  For example:
    1. Introvert (because, this person will be dealing directly with internal accounts, the position is analytical…)
    2. Need to be comfortable and available to work long hours and weekends.
  4. Decide what you can and what you cannot live without.  Some of my clients will tell me, Fay, I need someone who is a people person; I can train them to do the job.  Clarify the MUST haves and be strategic.  Do you want someone with a lot experience and great people skills or do you want someone who is focused and a solo worker.  Be clear.
  5. If you own a small business or you are an entrepreneur, you should be doing the final interviews yourself, you know more than anyone else what you are looking for, don’t delegate this process.  Remember that your team is the reflection of the owner.  If it’s a large organization, the supervisor should be doing the final interviews.
  6. When you interview, base your questions on past experience and performance vs the future performance.  Ask the person questions about when they performed the duties you are hiring for, this method will give you a better perspective on experience.  Ask them, to “tell me about a situation when you…?”, “how did you react, when?”, “what was your role?”  Then, listen and probe when appropriate.
  7. Interview 3 to 5 people to give you a better scope of the interviewees.  Don’t go for the first person and say that is it!  I found the perfect fit.  Shop around, remember, hiring is like dating!
  8. NEVER FORGET: Hire slowing and Fire quickly.  You will save you and your organization a lot of time, effort and money.

10409366_10153343055688825_2120688369892497368_nFay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF.  She is a HR Strategist, Author and Master Trainer.  She has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 15 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish.  Fay works with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies.  She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market.  For more information, contact her at flawrence@globalprofilesgroup.com or visit the website at:  www.globalprofilesgroup.com

 

Keeping Employees Happy

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KEEP YOUR Dream Team

Keeping the members of your team happy can be as challenging or rewarding as keeping children happy on a summer day in Coney Island.  It takes focus, hard work and perseverance.  Not everyone is motivated the same way for the same things (or rides).

  • It all starts from the beginning.  Your selection process, hire competent candidates that will fit into your culture and who can work in your environment.  When you hire the “perfect” team member look for a balance between the technical skills, soft skills and culture.  Your selection should bring harmony to the team (even if you are playing jazz or a symphony).  Not all cultures are created equal, a great selection makes the team and the company reviews happy.  A bad selection, becomes painful for you, the new employee and the team members.
  • Know Thy Team members, understand their dreams, desires and professional struggles.  If you know where your team member wants to go, then you help him achieve his desires, you will have a loyal employee for years (since forever no longer exists in this new and changing environment).
  • Show the person the big picture and how she fits in.  If your team members understand how their contributions are key for the success of the organization, they will become productive.  If not, you are creating an unproductive team that will do just enough to get by.
  • Create a culture that celebrates achievement and teamwork.  Productivity is a contact sport, if your team understand their role and how their individual input will help other team members to solve customer’s problems and increase the bottom line, you will have happier employees, eager to serve.
  • Last but not least, financial rewards.  Money don’t make people happy all the time, but it helps.  Individual bonuses are always welcomed, but consider providing team bonuses to enhance a team spirit and ensure real teamwork.

People don’t quit jobs, people quit their bosses!  Create an open door strategy and listen to your people, it will create a culture of understand.  When everything else fails, learn to let go.  If the person is not happy and your culture is not meeting their financial or aspirational needs, let the person go!

Fay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF.  She is a Leadership/HR Consultant, Master Trainer and Coach.  She has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 15 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish.  Fay has worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies.  She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market.

Sex on the Job

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Sex on the Job How to create a Sexual Harassment Process to Protect your Business and your Dream Team

Sex on the job is not one of the issues you as a small business owner worry about, as you build your bright business idea.  In fact, you are more concerned about your marketing, daily operations, sales, and revenue, than policies and procedures.    But when you decide to grow and engage a team for your business, there are specifics you need to focus on.

  • What is the culture you want in your organization?

  • Who are the people that will be part of your dream team?

  • What are the values they are bringing to “your” table?

  • What are the operations processes you need in place?

  • What about hiring, development and firing processes?

Even, if you don’t have a Human Resources department or a person on board to handle this process, you need to think about Human Resources policies and employee manuals.  Yes, I know it sounds complicated and daunting.  It is not!

But, look at it this way, each home, church and sport have rules.  In the case of sports, there are rules of engagement for the game itself and for the players, as each business should have theirs.  You don’t want someone coming from another business assuming that you run yours the way their previous employer did?  In sports, you cannot use the rules from one sport and use it in another.  Can you imagine using the rules of football in soccer (although they have the same name? but the rules are different.)  It will be a disaster!  Don’t you agree?  You need to have rules of engagement for your operations and your team.  And they have to be clear to protect your people and your investment.

Today,  let’s discuss Sexual Harassment, I can write endless stories about being sexually harassed in different stages of  my career (in another post)… and I can also write about case studies after case studies of my clients and how I helped them successfully navigate these issues (again in another post).  Let’s bring the issue of Sex on the Job, to the forefront and how it can affect your organization.

You may agree that our work spaces are friendlier than ever, people are engaging more in a personal level and teamwork is on the rise, thanks to the millennial who are eager to create a more balance work/life.   Unfortunately, Sexual harassment complaints are also on the rise.  It is disturbing to note that instead disappearing, it is increasing; in 2014 the cases reported increased from the year before.  And retaliation took the number one spot in reported cases of discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report for 2014.

So why is Sexual Harassment still an issue?  There are many hypotheses, but the bottom line is “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE”… yes, as the leader of your company you are responsible.  You can decide to look the other way or tackle the issue and work on prevention in your own space, is your choice.

What is sexual harassment?  

Let’s start with the meaning of Sexual Harassment:  According to the EEOC

Sexual Harassment is an unwelcome sexual behavior.  According to the EEOC, some is Sexually Harassed when the action explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates and intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.  This behavior can be displayed in forms of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, displays of sexually explicit or suggesting materials.*

Sexual Harassment is ILLEGAL!  And it is punished by the law.

Each state has its own regulation and it’s important to understand what your state requirements are as soon as you decide to start your hiring process.

Under what circumstances the harassment can occur:

  • The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. It can be a male or female.

  • The harasser can be anyone in the organization, or even a non-employee.

  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. A 3rd party applies!

  • It can occur without economic injury or discharge

  • The key is that the conduct of the harasser MUST be unwelcome.

What should you do as an employer?

  1. Create clear internal policy stating that “Sexual Harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

  2. Train your people

    1. Train your supervisors, managers and executive staff on a regular basis. Make this training yearly, if possible.  Management needs to know they can be held personally liable for sexual harassment misconduct.  They also need clarity in the process of reporting and investigation of a complain, they are the eyes and ears of your business.  They need to be well informed.  Many times, I have experience where the manager tries to convince the victim not to forward with the complaint; this type of behavior can hurt the company and the manager more than help.

    2. Train your workforce each year. Most companies provide their employees with Sexual Harassment training upon hiring or they simply give them the policy, assuming they are going to read it.  This is not enough!  You are responsible as the owner; ensure your people know and understand the process, it will keep everyone honest!

Although video training can be of great help for some organizations, I have experienced better results, when the session is facilitated by Human Resources or an external consultant.  Managers and workers are more open to ask questions and clear doubts, especially when you have a diverse population in your team.  Because the U.S. is a melting pot, every culture is different.  When there is a discussion of the dos and don’ts, your people get a better understanding of what is “appropriate” where there are open discussions.  Another issue I have encountered, especially in the manufacturing arena, is that some employees cannot read or write (English or their native language).  This makes it difficult for them to go through a video with written test.  It creates more stress than learning.

Another strategy that can be used, is having your facilitated training in your team’s native language, preferably by someone who understands not only the language, but also the cultural diversity of your team

  1. Set up a comprehensive process for reporting and investigating complaints.  It is key that every party is heard.  Make the process confidential to protect your team and minimize misunderstandings.

    1. First Step in your process needs to inform the victim what to do. The victim must let the harasser know that the behavior is unwelcome and must STOP!

    2. Then report it to their supervisor or Human Resources (It all depends on your internal process… the complaint mechanism or a grievance system needs to be clear and well known within your company.)

  2. Make it clear to your management (verbally and in writing) that retaliation is unlawful. They should not retaliate against an individual who reports or makes a complain, file a discrimination charge or testify in a discrimination case.

  3. As the owner or senior management, become an advocate for your team; make clear that you will not TOLERATE this type of behavior. Mirror your actions with the classroom training, you need to be aligned.  Know your people, talk to them.  Don’t manage “by remote control”.  You can always know what is going on in your organization if you take the time to know and talk to your people.

My final note, reminder you worked very hard to get where you are today, don’t let a “Power game of Sex on the job” (from you or anyone of your team), hurt your career, your business and your life, it is not worth it.

*The source of the information comes from the EEOC website.

Fay updatedFay A. Lawrence, MBA, ITF.  She is a Human Resources Consultant, Master Trainer and Coach.  She has been providing human development solutions and change management for more than 15 years at the national and international level in English and Spanish.  Fay has worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as with Non-Profits and Governmental Agencies.  She is committed to be a support and guide for organizations who want to transform their culture and develop their leadership in order to be effective and relevant in today’s market.

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