“Time” Silence Breakers exposes fixable flaw in Human Resources
“Time” Magazine “Silence Breakers” Exposes Deep Corporate Culture Flaw
It should also be the figurative alarm bells going off in Human Resource departments in every organization, every privately and publicly held company, every single workplace employing from 2 people to 200,000.
With so many people coming forward from so many different places of employment with credible complaints and evidence of harassment in the workplace, there is a reality that must be faced. Faced without fear and with the courage to not merely recognize the problem, but admit it’s real, and fiercely dedicate individuals and organizations to rectify it without making excuses.
Human Resource Departments, and the professionals that dedicate their lives to the cause of a safe and harmonious workplace, are in desperate need of help.
They are either overwhelmed, understaffed, lacking in and desperately pleading for the necessary training to prevent these issues from coming to their explosive conclusion, or something much more infectious to a positive corporate culture.
Management doesn’t believe there’s a problem, stating “that could NEVER happen here”. They operate on the premise that harassment in the workplace is “no big deal”, just another form of camaraderie or “doing business”. And without question a factor in many instances, harassment can be easily swept under the rug due to the employee fear of losing their job.
Go ahead and please tell me I’m wrong. I welcome a correction in this part of the conversation. However, if we’re all being adults here and being truly honest, we will all admit these are all tentacles to a problem that has been allowed to fester for decades, even generations.
Stop pointing the “Finger of Blame” and take responsibility
Let’s make one thing crystal clear. This is not an indictment of Human Resources departments. It’s easy to point a finger of blame at one group, but this is about so much more. This is about corporate culture and the need for a new and much more intense level of training for everyone from the CEO on down to the newbie employee.
The time has come for every Corporate owner, every level of management, every HR Department to reassess what they do, how they do it, how they react, and the absolute necessity of training their workers on what is proper and what is not in the workplace.
From NBC (Matt Lauer), CBS (Charlie Rose), Harvey Weinstein (Miramax), Bill O’Reilly (FOX), on down to workers in law offices, doctors offices, insurance firms, grocery stores, fast food outlets and every form of workplace interaction, there is a culture earthquake that has been bubbling for decades.
Time to stop making excuses and do something about it. Right. Now.
The toughest part of this necessary change? Company and organization management/ownership MUST admit there’s a problem. They MUST commit themselves to changing the culture. They MUST put their egos aside. And then they MUST bring in the expert that will assist HR in creating a culture worthy of respect and pride for everyone.
Recently I rejected the opportunity to work with a Washington DC-based company when their HR Manager looked me squarely in the eye and said, “Why the Hell would I bring you on board when all you’re doing is trying to take my job and prove I’m no good at what I do?”
I knew right there this individual was part of the problem I’m writing about. No amount of training would help here. This organization was and remains one that refuses to see the problem right there, exposed for all to see.
Corporate America needs to stop this arrogance and fix the problem. It will make for a better workplace. It will make employees happy to come to work. It will put a dead stop to people always looking for the next gig. It improves retention. It will MAKE EVERYONE MORE MONEY in the long run, and it will make Human Resources, along with every other level of management, look better and be better prepared to deal with those alarm bells well before they sound.
Personal experience to harassment, insults and threats
I’ve been there. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve watched as people are demeaned and harassed in the workplace by those wielding power and influence.
And I, likely sharing this with many of you now reading, have been the target of harassment and threats from management at several stops in my career.
Not in a sexual sense, but publicly and with malice used as a target by management who knew they could get away with it. And they did.
As I write this, I do so following conversations with both male and female former colleagues who were threatened with termination, mocked for their appearance, made the butt of sexual jokes both in private and a public setting, and were simply helpless to do anything about it. All knew full well that saying something would mean an escort right out the door.
The same company, and same person, who openly belittled employees on their last day, mocking them for their job performance, appearance, intelligence and more, to have a laugh at their expense.
Ownership of this media entity did nothing to stop it. They encouraged it by failing to take action. In one case, a newly minted manager had 4 HR complaints from 4 different employees filed against him in the first few weeks of his ascendance. The HR manager looked me in the eye and said this person would be getting “management training” and “reeducation” as punishment.
Never happened. And as I write this, this person is still in a position of authority, an “errand boy” for the CEO, creating what a current employee recently told me was “the most toxic work environment I have ever experience in my career”.
Daily harassment and subjugation as entertainment for this individual. A mean spirited little boy who ascended to a position of authority for no other reason than he openly and happily kissed the bottom end of the company owner. An owner who still lacks any courage to change a culture so long as he continues to cash checks and live a high lifestyle at the expense of others.
This has got to stop. With most things, fixing a problem means admitting there is one and then doing everything necessary to provide solutions.
“With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”
There’s an old line from the “Spider Man” comic book series that resonates in life.
“With great power comes great responsibility”. It could not be more true in light of the outpouring of those who are finally able to come forward with their stories. In every instance, it is those with great power that abuse it for their own profit and entertainment. And in the process, they systematically destroy the lives, careers, passions and dreams of others without a second thought.
This is a conversation that must continue. This is an issue that must be examined from every possible angle. This is an issue that has been allowed to simmer and fester for far too long, and in exposing the truth we are indeed making America, and the world, a better place.
Use that power. Take that responsibility.
Be the solution to a despicable epidemic that damages us all.