I, along with millions of others, have watched in disgust as daily reports of sexual harassment explode out of entertainment, government, corporate America, and technology like an angry, fiery volcano that has been building steam for centuries. It is sickening that in this day of supposed enlightenment, progress and equality – people are still abusing their actual or perceived power over others.
As a woman, I applaud my sisters who had the courage to come forward and end their silence, taken for so many reasons I am not even going to try to understand. As a human, I applaud my brothers who found the strength to share their stories despite fear of ridicule, judgment or worse. As an HR professional, I ask myself…how can this have been prevented?
Our society needs to heal itself toward creating inclusion and equality for everyone, for sure. However, much of this abuse occurred within formal or informal organizational structures where there is an expectation that those in leadership positions would and should know better. Should we all just assume that because society needs healing, the microcosm of organizational structures is just doomed to stay in this abusive, disrespectful state? I think that there is another way for leaders to partner with HR to help the right outcomes happen.
This current climate won’t change overnight. It is complex, and will need to be addressed at multiple angles from numerous vantage points. It must happen in homes, schools, communities and workplaces. At the professional level, this is a space HR plays in every day – driving and guiding change management. We must all be active participants to be the change we want to see.
Ever had this happen to someone you know? Maybe your last employee who just left for greener pastures less than a year after they came? Read this in a review on Glassdoor?
“I found the perfect job, had an incredible interview experience, received an offer and delightedly accepted. I hemmed and hawed in the days before I started, imagining how fantastic my first day would be. I bubbled with anticipation of all of the great people I would meet and interesting things I was going to learn. I could hardly wait to start and almost lost a night’s sleep the night before my first day. I arrived early, clutching my notebook and eagerly awaited all the amazing experiences yet to come. And then it happened. They took me in, sat me down, gave me some passwords and told me to have a good day.”
That’s not how you planned it in HR, is it? There is nary a bigger waste than landing a brand new employee poorly. Good on-boarding is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success of your people and your company. It can make or break the employer brand you’ve worked so hard to build. In a tight labor market, good experiences can be the difference between getting that awesome candidate to accept or not. Bad on-boarding poorly can cost you a lot of money. Not just in searching and finding that “A” player, but in training them, orienting them and investing in them. When they walk away, so does your money, institutional knowledge and efficiency gains from continuity that could have been.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Driving the right connections, experiences and knowledge gains from the get go can make all the difference for a new hire to land well and feel welcome. Drawing a line between their role and the greater purpose of the company connects their mind and heart and brings resonance to the job. Ensuring that they have the right support along the way can make a lasting impact.