Stopping Sexual Harassment In Healthcare & Inspiring Speak Up Cultures

Long hours. Fractured sleep. Steep learning curves. Working in the medical profession is hard, but it’s even harder for women. Female medical residents, nurses, and physicians encounter gender bias, endure sexual harassment, and face a greater risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression than their male counterparts. In the face of a growing and aging population, and the very real threat of a shortage of doctors, healthcare organizations can’t afford to lose any dedicated professionals due to a toxic work culture.

The healthcare industry disadvantages women at every stage of their careers, causing many to step back or down from their roles or leave the industry entirely. Aside from the obvious issues associated with mistreatment of and discrimination—no person should have to endure harassment or fear for their personal safety when doing their job—not remedying these dysfunctional behaviors won’t just ultimately drive women from healthcare, but it will also negatively impact patient outcomes.

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To combat this, women in the medical field have banded together and are now speaking out as part of Time’s Up Healthcare, an initiative to curb sexual harassment and gender inequity in medicine, which officially launched on March 1, 2019.

“You want to adapt to the culture and climate, and you want to succeed. That means you’re going to ignore the pat on the butt, the hand on the leg, and the comments — so many comments — about one’s breasts and sex life, one’s fertility plans, and loss of virginity. It’s like the locker room, but it’s the halls of medicine,” Jane van Dis, MD, Ob/Gyn, Ob Hospitalist, and one of the steering committee members of Time’s Up Healthcare told InStyle.

The healthcare field needs to address these issues for the mental health of female employees: female doctors have double the rates of burnout as their male colleagues, and have at 2.5 to 4 times the rate of the general population.

“Many who have experienced harassment and abuse will demonstrate such behaviors as post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, and lessened ability to make decisions,” Susan Strauss, registered nurse and harassment and bullying consultant in Burnsville, Minnesota, said in the the 2018 Sexual Harassment of Physicians report. “Many victims question their self-worth and ask, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’”

Fortunately, with the advent of tools like STOPit, empowering healthcare staff to report sexual harassment and misconduct is simple. It’s easy to implement safe, confidential reporting and it’s easy to administer with STOPit’s best-in-class incident management system. In less than an hour, assigned staff can be up and running on STOPit Admin, with an intuitive, customizable dashboard and user experience that makes incident management and reporting extremely manageable in the context of an already high-pressure work environment.

 

Partnership Spotlight: Giving Kitchen Is Honored For Its Role As A Progressive Leader In the Heart Of Atlanta

The STOPit Solutions community is delighted to celebrate a tremendous achievement by one of our valued partners, Giving Kitchen.

After six years of providing Atlanta-area food service workers emergency assistance and resources, the nonprofit will be honored with the prestigious 2019 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year award at a ceremony in Chicago on May 6. The Humanitarian of the Year is awarded to an individual or organization whose work in the food services industry improves the lives of others and this is certainly true for Giving Kitchen.

This year, Giving Kitchen plans to use its platform as an influencer to engage workers more on issues of self-care and stability, such as mental health, suicide prevention, financial well-being, and eliminating stressors such as sexual harassment and discrimination from workplaces

Bryan Schroeder, Giving Kitchen’s Executive Director and a guiding force building Giving Kitchen’s leadership legacy, noted that many small restaurant businesses don’t have plans in place to deal with harassment and their employees may not even know who to approach when it happens. 

“There are no bad apples, only bad barrels,” he said. “I really do think that’s an important topic of discussion for restaurants to consider, recognizing that we are responsible for the work environments we create.”

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to inspire speak up cultures in your organization.

Schroeder seems to be playing a role he was born for. His parents opened their first restaurant in Rome, Georgia, when he was just three days old. Growing up, he was exposed to every facet of restaurant life, from washing dishes to the tough management decisions required of business owners. Yet, Schroeder felt a strong calling toward public service, which led him to pursue a masters degree from Georgia’s Institute for Nonprofit Organizations. Upon graduation, he spent a decade with the environmental advocacy organization the Georgia Conservancy.

When the Giving Kitchen position opened, he recognized a unique opportunity to marry his restaurant and nonprofit backgrounds and help make a difference in people’s lives, starting with Giving Kitchen. He and his team quickly began implementing changes that signaled a commitment to leading by example.

“It’s never too early for a small organization to start planning a future where you need really strong safeguards against abuse, malfeasance, embezzlement, sexual harassment or discrimination,” Schroeder said. “We’re a small organization now, but we’ve doubled in size since I started working there a year and a half ago, and we’ll probably double again in the next few years.”

Not yet a decade old, Giving Kitchen quickly outgrew its first office. Schroeder recalls its open setup as the kind of space that would work well for a tech startup, but did not offer the kind of anonymity and privacy its visitors needed. Today, it occupies a sizable office with a conference room and areas where people can feel at ease while talking about what’s happening in their lives.

But when asked to describe how it feels for Giving Kitchen to be recognized for its work as winner of the 2019 JBF Humanitarian of the Year award, Schroder is clear about who gets the credit, “When I hear people say Giving Kitchen changed Atlanta, it’s not anything we did,” said Schroeder. “It was Atlanta coming together to create Giving Kitchen that changed Atlanta.”

Giving Kitchen grew out of an overwhelming community response to assist Ryan Hidinger, a well-known Atlanta chef, with financial support to cover cancer treatment expenses that were not covered by insurance. Executive Director Bryan Schroeder credits those who came together to create Giving Kitchen with changing the region’s food industry forever by making the community more tight-knit and supportive of each other’s work.

Since its inception, Giving Kitchen has awarded $2.4 million in Crisis Grants to some 1,600 workers struggling with injuries, health problems, the loss of loved ones, housing issues and other emergencies. The organization also runs a Stability Network program that connects restaurant workers with social services such as mental health and child care assistance.

We’re Family In the Food Industry: Let’s Get Healthy & End Harassment At Work

It was a new drama every time Robin walked into the kitchen of the New York City restaurant where she waited tables. The source: a cook whose specialty was a foul broth of insults and inappropriate comments.

Eventually, she gave him a piece of her mind and hoped he’d back off. No such luck. In the restaurant industry, revenge can be a dish not served at all.

“He stopped making my orders,” she recalled. “All of the other tables were getting their food on time. The customers were annoyed and taking it out on me, by complaining or giving me bad tips. I felt trapped — it was a toxic situation.”

Ask anyone you know who has worked in a restaurant and they’re almost guaranteed to have a comparable story. Statistics show that it is one of the most stressful industries in the country in terms of dealing with sexual harassment and bullying.

The Front & Back Of the House: Depending On Each Other To Succeed Means Working Together To End Abuse

According to a report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an incredible 90 percent of female workers claim to have been sexually harassed by customers, with half claiming it happens on a weekly basis.

As famously portrayed in books, films and TV series like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and Bradley Cooper’s Burnt, the the restaurant and food services industry is incredibly fast-paced and high energy and often the front and back of house are non-stop action, leading to high levels of stress and frustration. Still, this is no longer an acceptable excuse for a toxic work environment. A Modern Restaurant Management columnist recently outlined a few acts that would be considered sexual harassment in the industry, although they could hold true in any setting:

  • A supervisor demanding a sexual quid pro quo from a subordinate for a work benefit
  • When people are treated as inferior due to their gender
  • Management retaliating against a worker for alleging sexual harassment

The problems often stem from people who are supposed to be on the same team. Two-thirds of female workers and over half of men reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment from their managers, while nearly 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men surveyed said they were on the receiving end from their co-workers. Roughly one in five women reported being pressured by management to sexualize their behavior and/or appearance when dealing with customers.

Contact us now and learn how restaurant industry leaders are using the latest tech tools to be more successful.

And of course workers who rely on tips are in an especially precarious position, as they often have to tolerate the intolerable in order to make a living. Waiters and waitresses are dependent on solid performances from bartenders, cooks, bus boys, dishwashers, hostesses and others in order to deliver customers the pleasant dining experience they expect.

Chefs Have Their Toolbox, Restaurant and Food Service Orgs Need Theirs, Too

The restaurant industry is not immune to the changes taking place in the #MeToo era. As an essayist in Eater observed, “We cannot afford to pretend everything is all better because we got rid of the most heinous bad actors, like Mario Batali” — no less than a culture change is necessary.

Owners who take proactive steps to promote happy and healthy atmospheres in their workplaces will maintain their best workers and protect their bottom lines. Those who don’t risk allowing bad behaviors to fester, leading to staff turnover, unhappy customers and lawsuits that can destroy their businesses. When customers see unpleasant working conditions they often go to social media to share what they saw, so solutions that address workplace issues before they spiral out of control can have real effects to the bottom line.

In Robin’s case, even though the cook’s behavior was bad for the business, she felt like telling the manager was a lost cause – the two were friends and disciplinary action was unlikely. So she dealt with her problem the way so many others do in the industry – she quit. But if she had some way of letting the owner know, she said, it’s possible they could have straightened the situation out.

Legal experts stress that restaurant owners should mandate employees sign on to anti-bullying and harassment policies. These documents not only help employers minimize or avoid liability, but ensure everyone is clear on what’s expected of them. At least one fast food chain, Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes, has taken the concept a step further, asking workers to agree to a social media harassment policy.

STOPit Solutions’ anonymous reporting app has a growing number of clients in restaurant chains, according to Chief Revenue Officer Neil Hooper. The app empowers workers who would otherwise feel too vulnerable to share their stories straight with the company’s human resources officers and others who can solve the problem.

An anonymous reporting system can be a valuable tool for retaining reliable workers in an industry that is known for its high turnover. Restaurant and bar jobs open all the time, providing employees plenty of mobility if they’re not happy with their work situations.

Hooper noted that STOPit can be especially helpful during summer and holiday seasons, when restaurants staff up with short-term workers who are not invested in their new workplace cultures.

“It’s a busy time that’s already stressful for employees,” he said. “When you add in bad behavior from one worker to another, it can create a lot of tension. We have heard from a number of employers that it’s an important time to have an anonymous HR reporting system in place.”

Contact STOPit today to learn more about how anonymous reporting can help thwart harassment and bullying in your business.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is April: Stay Informed, Stay Vigilant and Take Action to Combat Sexual Assault

The momentum of movements like Me Too and Time’s Up is causing society to make a major shift in how we discuss and react to sexual violence, as well as how sexual assaults are identified, reported, and prevented. And there is no time is better to lead and participate in these discussions than now, since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a time when survivors and advocacy groups work to raise awareness surrounding the pervasive issue of sexual violence.

And the prevalence of sexual assault can be shocking.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC):

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
  • 90% of college sexual assault victims don’t report the assault.
  • Rape is the most underreported crime: 63% of cases are never reported to police.

These statistics make it clear that sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Moreover, in addition to immediate costs such as medical expenses and missed wages, sexual assault can have devastating long-term impacts like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

What’s not as clear, as evidenced by a growing body of research, is how victims can safely reach out to report incidents and ask for help. Anecdotal and peer-reviewed research both confirm that victims of sexual assault, rape, or sexual abuse almost unanimously report that it is often confusing to know where to turn to report an incident — and it’s always intimidating.

Statistics and surveys are also showing that while the #MeToo movement may be encouraging more victims feel to come forward, victims and witnesses are not reporting these attacks using traditional methods. Survivors have given the following reasons for not reporting a sexual assault:

  • Fear of retaliation
  • Scared of hostile treatment by the authorities
  • Uncertain that authorities would consider the incident serious enough
  • Did not want family or friends to know about it
  • Didn’t know how to report the incident

Workplaces and schools can take a modern approach to protecting their people and their reputation by utilizing smartphone apps like STOPit as a 21st century solution. These tools are designed to create a safe space for students and employees to report incidents freely—and without fear. The hope is that by making it simple and anonymous, people will be encouraged to report, which allows for real-time, positive intervention for the victim as well as the additional benefit of helping to quickly identify repeat offenders.

Learn More About How STOPit Can Empower People to be Courageous When Confronting Sexual Assault

It’s encouraging to recognize that safe, anonymous reporting tools and improvements in organizational cultures are bolstering the courage of bystanders — giving them the confidence to get involved in protecting their co-workers by providing corroborating evidence in support of a friend’s, classmate’s or co-worker’s report. In a problem this serious, we celebrate every step forward.

“I Ask” for “Awareness to Action”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, has adopted “I Ask” as their theme for this year’s SAAM. The campaign, “champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.” Words and actions shape our world and culture: raising awareness of how often sexual violence happens; talking about consent; sharing safety, prevention, and reporting strategies; and learning helpful and compassionate ways to talk to survivors are the goals of SAAM.

The good news is that individuals, communities, and companies are already taking important steps to successfully combat the risk of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse through conversations, programs, policies, and tools that promote safety, respect, and equality. Marriott has received a lot of recent, positive press for its corporate commitment to stamping out human trafficking in the hospitality industry.

Campaigns like #MeTooK12 and RAAIN’S Awareness to Action, provide everything from statistics to help define the problem and put it in context, to practical tools like scripts for how to hold a conversation with friends, family and community about sexual violence. They even provide ready-to-go graphics and campaign hashtags to help promote the conversation on social media platforms.

Encouraging as these campaigns are, however, we need to stay committed to working for real, lasting solutions to sexual violence in our workplaces, schools and communities. Recent news stories like the one that exposed rampant corruption —  including cheating and bribery — in the college admissions scandal, make it easier for us to allow the seriousness of this issue fade into the background and threaten to drown out emerging conversations that are calling for action — like those that are happening right now in higher education.

In fact, sexual misconduct is the most frequently reported and managed incident type on the STOPit app for Higher Education customers. Cases brought against campuses, including William Paterson University, and Ivy League schools such as Yale University where three students have filed a class-action lawsuit, arguing that the university has enabled a fraternity culture of harassment, remind us to remain engaged and vigilant — even as we celebrate progress towards the goal of making sexual harassment and victimization, rare.

Let’s Do More All Year Long to Combat Sexual Assault.

What else can be done to help? Individuals can show support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, correct harmful misconceptions, and promote everyday consent.

Though it is certainly a good thing that SAAM gives us an opportunity to come together as a community to learn more and do more, one month isn’t enough to solve the widespread issue of sexual violence. However we can use the attention SAAM generates as an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

The NSVRC is calling on supporters to wear teal on April 2, their “Day of Action,” as a way to spread awareness and show solidarity with survivors.

For more ideas and opportunities to get involved all month long, visit these organizations online:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

RAAIN

NO MORE

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Each voice is powerful and necessary in preventing sexual violence, misconduct, and abuse. SAAM is a powerful a reminder that we can change the world through the things we say and do each day.

For more information about STOPit and how organizations are using the anonymous reporting app to encourage healthier, safer communities, workplaces and schools, call one of our safety solutions experts, today.

It’s Not the Beer: Company Culture That Really Attracts and Retains Millennial Employees

You might think that your employees and the candidates you’re hoping to attract want a company culture that’s fun and free. Xbox in the lounge!

But what they really want is to feel safe and supported.

Your employees and future candidates look to your company culture and values as a reflection of how they will and should be treated. Understanding how your company is viewed by employees, both current and prospective, can help you then understand the type of talent you attract and keep. In honor of Employee Appreciation Day, March 1, take a couple of minutes to think about how your company’s culture, values, and perks align, and what impact that has on your bottom line.

Perks aren’t just fun and games: team lunches and beer tastings have their place, but there are benefits that have more meaning and reflect the culture you want to embrace. If being direct is an important value at your company, encouraging feedback and rewarding transparency will help reinforce that part of your culture. And gathering information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit can help facilitate the process of reporting behavior and function as a premium perk that helps companies address behavior proactively.

Assess Your Current Culture — And React

And according to a survey by Deloitte, company culture is the second most important priority, behind pay, for millenials when they are considering a role at a company. The same survey also says 60 percent of millennials are predicted to leave their current company by 2020. What you do now in regards to workplace culture can impact if or how that projection effects your organization.

As workplace culture is obviously important to attracting and retaining talented employees, particularly millennials, addressing the issues behind these statistics could mean the difference between your company thriving or failing. And the difference between keeping a great staff or losing them due to toxic behaviors that senior management is either enabling or unaware of.

More and more business leaders are taking steps to assess their current culture, identifying areas for improvement, gathering information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit, and training employees on what is and is not acceptable workplace behavior. Clearly articulating your core values, fostering open communication, offering robust onboarding and mentoring programs, and modeling best behaviors can help align every member of your team around a shared and thriving set of expectations.

Workers Are Tuned in to Incidents Of Discrimination

A study by the Institute for Public Relations and leading global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick says that nearly 60 percent of all employed Americans report that they have seen or heard about some form of discrimination at their workplace, and millennials are more likely to be attuned to these issues.

“It has long been understood that diversity and inclusion initiatives are essential for business success but also for career choices being made by millennials,” said IPR Trustee and Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist Leslie Gaines-Ross in a press release.

Unfortunately, even with the best training, decision making, and leadership, discrimination and harassment can still occur. Educating and empowering your employees to utilize reporting methods to share (without fear) any issues they see at work can help senior staff address potential issues before they become major problems.

Get Ahead Of These Issues (Or Face Unnecessary Risks)

To help prevent workplace harassment and discrimination, companies need to create environments where employees feel comfortable anonymously reporting incidents, and develop  an effective process to hold workers accountable.

STOPit offers completely anonymous reporting via a mobile app. With an interface like texting the app is easy for employees to use discreetly while on the job to report harassment, discrimination, favoritism, fraud, and other issues. Back end incident management systems help employers directly follow up with employees anonymously to gather more information, while ensuring secure evidence collection and compliance. STOPit can also automate a company’s current processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations.

“A company who wants to maximize results takes the results of reporting and assessment and then connects management and employees with education content rooted in proven, actionable solutions,” said Roger Duffield, President of in2vate, a risk management program.

To learn more about how workplaces are integrating data and anonymous reporting to satisfy compliance requirements and improve company culture, click here.

And although the right data and tools are important to success, continued improvement is just as dependent on continued learning and continued implementation. A thriving company culture, the kind that millennials seek out and stay at, are found at organizations that actively gather feedback and then act on what they learn. And when the right values are being upheld and the right behaviors are in place, it’s still important to continue monitoring issues like pending investigations and recently filed complaints, to help proactively spot and address cultural risks and vulnerabilities.

Call STOPit today to learn more about how companies are using mobile technology to protect their corporate cultures.

Women In Tech: Fixing The ‘Leaky Pipeline’

Gender diversity is a necessity for business success, but the “leaky pipeline,” where women disappear from career and leadership trajectories at all stages of their career, still impacts women in corporate settings of all sizes.

A report from the Kapor Center gives tech companies a how-to guide on repairing that “leaky pipeline.” Even though the gender gap is widely discussed, women continue to leave or get left behind at every step of their career—from entry level positions to management roles. The report identified some of the underlying reasons women have issues in tech companies, including:

  • Biases in recruiting and hiring
  • Limited access to social networks dominated by men
  • A toxic workplace culture, harassment, inequitable pay, bias in promotion-that cause a decrease in job satisfaction and high turnover

“We have a problem, and we need to work together to solve it,” Freada Kapor Klein, a partner with Kapor Capital and founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, said to USA Today.

While the tech sector channels their innovative thinking into interventions that work, on-the-job training about appropriate workplace behavior and anonymous reporting opportunities like the STOPit app can be an immediate help to reduce the number of women who quit a job due to suffering through a toxic culture.

The High Cost of A Toxic Work Culture

Turnover isn’t just expensive, it hurts morale and can take away much needed expertise and invaluable institutional knowledge. There are more serious costs for businesses too: low morale and high employee turnover can damage a company’s reputation and threaten its future success.

Business leaders, from small startups to gigantic corporations, need to develop and lead an inclusive and supportive culture to retain high-performing employees. Tammy Perkins left a series of leadership roles at Amazon and Microsoft to become Chief People Officer and Managing Partner of Fjuri, a cutting-edge marketing startup.

“One of the most difficult parts of starting a new company is focusing on growth, while taking time to create the team structure you need to support that growth,” said Perkins in an interview with INC.

Every company has a culture that is constantly evolving and changing. Culture is not something you have, it is something you do.

Improve results for recruitment and retention. Limit liability. Learn more.

“Intertwined with the way you work as a team is your culture—and great cultures start with a foundation of empowerment, engagement and accountability,” said Perkins.

Tech Solutions for Tech Problems

Not every startup can boast the same degree of work-culture integrity as Fjuri. Tech startups have had a reputation for having a “bro” culture where women experience pay inequality, sexual harassment, and a discriminatory work environment. That does seem to be changing, however. The ability for leadership to be nimble and pivot, qualities that are integral to a successful startup, have also allowed many tech companies — big and small — to change their culture and offer women a place to thrive.

And now is the time for every company to conduct a frank self-assessment of their culture and make that change: A report from Gallup found that nearly half of female employees say they are actively looking for a different job or watching for new opportunities.

In a recent study, 70% of women surveyed by Forbes said they felt that the #MeToo movement had no impact on their workplace. So while equal pay, satisfying working conditions, investment in your health, and a large percentage of women at every management level may help identify companies that are good employers for women, there is still work to be done.

“I have been working on diversity in tech for many decades. It’s sobering to see the lack of progress,” said Kapor Klein.

The Bottom Line

Companies can improve the working conditions for their female employees by creating a better and more accountable culture, establishing training programs covering appropriate workplace behavior, and offering anonymous reporting opportunities like the STOPit mobile app, a simple, fast and powerful tool that empowers individuals to protect themselves and others.

Call STOPit today to learn how companies of all sizes are using STOPit’s mobile technology solution to promote and protect their corporate cultures.

How Workplaces Are Integrating Data and Anonymous Reporting To Satisfy Compliance Requirements and Improve Company Culture

Time will tell, but employers may look back at 2018 as the year we finally got honest about the impact of harassment and intimidation in the workplace. Using social media as a megaphone, professionals from Hollywood to Main Street proclaimed “no more” to misconduct that had long been pervasive in every industry and nearly every office building. Norms for what’s considered acceptable behavior have evolved, and employers are looking forward to take better advantage of tools that educate their staff, empowering them to address issues before they become problems. Companies that don’t are taking unnecessary risks.

And while there’s been no shortage of headlines about events of the past in the #MeToo era, Roger Duffield, President of in2vate, believes the vast majority of executives want to put protections in place for the future of their corporations. They just don’t always know how.

“I don’t think the right information is getting to decision makers,” Duffield said. “They’re ready to take positive steps, but they don’t have the right data. If they can see what they need to do, they’ll do it.”

The Solution: Introducing Enterprise Risk Technology

More and more business leaders are taking those positive steps with the deployment of enterprise risk technology, software that can help companies assess their current culture, identify areas for improvement, gather information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit, implement best practices for conforming with regulations, and train employees on timely topics.

In2vate was one of the first providers of valuable services and it’s leveraged its experience and integration with STOPit to create a customizable and scalable software package that is particularly effective for businesses with distinct corporate cultures.

“Companies need a risk-management solution that over-delivers on their need for information and plugs them into easy to implement, cost effective solutions,” said Duffield.

The effectiveness of enterprise risk technology was proven recently when an in2vate customer, an insurer with over 200 government clients in its pool, needed to perform an audit on all of their policies and handbooks and identify documents and forms in need of an immediate update as well as urgent training needs.

In2vate developed a 30-question survey and a simple interface that allowed the agencies to upload their documents and collect specific, actionable information for each organization. Within 45 days, they had nearly 90 percent participation — highly unusual for large-scale assessment projects — and all the information necessary to match every one of the participants with tools and resources they needed to accomplish all their compliance and organizational management goals.

“We were amazed at the level of disclosure that the clients provided,” Duffield said. “It would have taken them years to collect the data with any other method.”

Powering Up Data with Anonymous Reporting

When it comes to data collection for risk assessment, companies are recommending anonymous reporting as another opportunity to collect valuable data.

Now offering an anonymous reporting option to employees, organizations and partners like In2vate are taking proactive steps to ensure better compliance with legal obligations and, as importantly, encouraging employees to feel safe and empowered to report malfeasance and harassment. Anonymous reporting services are highly effective for getting real-time, first-person information about workplace warning signals as well as threats, helping managers identify and address workplace problems before they take root and ultimately preserving an office’s positive atmosphere.

STOPit Solutions is in2vate’s provider of choice in anonymous reporting and incident management. STOPit’s reporting and investigation tools are a natural fit with in2vate’s philosophy of reporting, investigating and taking action. “STOPit and in2vate help deliver critical data into the hands of decision makers so they can implement necessary changes,” Duffield said. “Organizations can take advantage of enterprise risk technology to help identify red flags and address them early, and STOPit can help with that.”

The More You Know

Duffield is quick to point out to clients that though the right data and the right tools to collect that information are vital, “Continuous improvement depends on continuous learning. A company who wants to maximize results takes the results of reporting and assessment and then connects management and employees with education content rooted in proven, actionable solutions.”

For instance, in2vate offers its clients some of its industry-specific and legal content through weekly bulletins covering topics ranging from sexual harassment and discrimination to what goes in a personnel file. It’s a cost-effective means for ensuring first-line managers and supervisors are up to speed on critical workplace issues.

They also offer comprehensive training content that’s delivered online. All modules are developed using established, best-practices, like TRAC (Teamwork • Respect • Awareness • Communication) – is a multi-purpose workplace module for all employees that reinforces efforts to prevent workplace wrongdoing and makes employees aware of issues important to organizations, such as tolerance and diversity. Sensitivity Basics is another highly utilized module about what sensitivity is and what it is not. Topics include sexual insensitivity, stereotyping, and faith in the workplace. The company also curates an easy-to-search Legal Synopsis library with hundreds of articles covering a wide range of topics.

Thanks to its partnership with STOPit, in2vate provides its knowledge content for STOPit’s Resource Center, an online library for STOPit clients that helps organization administrators address issues efficiently and effectively based on best practices and professionally researched content. So far, in2vate has provided over 1,000 articles to assist administrators via the library of STOPit Premium Resources. Customers from enterprises through public school districts get enormous value out of being able to address employee and student concerns with the help of this content, all from within the STOPit Admin console.

Call STOPit today to learn more about how companies are using mobile technology to promote and protect their corporate cultures.

It’s Holiday Party Time at the Office, and Rudolph Isn’t Taking Any More Nonsense at the Reindeer Games

The holidays are here. Peace and goodwill are pushed pretty heavily during a retail season that screams for our attention, but these sensibilities should be important to us year-round at work and home.

While holiday bonuses and home-baked cookies can go a long way in spreading the holiday cheer at work, an anonymous reporting system is a gift that can simplify employee communications and help make the office a better place.

After all, ’tis the season for bad behavior at office parties. Or worse, the parties after the office parties.

Naughty or Nice?

The holidays give co-workers a chance to let their guard down and spend time together in a purely social atmosphere. Relaxing around the table with drinks, they talk about things and show sides of themselves that they normally wouldn’t with colleagues – for better or worse.

Sometimes the situation gets out of hand. A manager makes an inappropriate sexual advance toward a subordinate. A blowup breaks out between colleagues who don’t get along. Someone uses or offers a co-worker illegal drugs.

Other times it’s less blatant. An insensitive — even if not mal-intended — gesture like a forced hug, off-color joke, political rant, a remark about someone’s appearance, or pressuring someone to drink more can be taken with great offense.

Come Monday morning, it’ll fall to the company HR professionals to sort through the conflicting and sometimes exaggerated versions of a story and an attempt to render fair consequences, often leaving no one satisfied and all feeling victimized. For an employer getting wind of these incidents, the headaches are such that it may be tempting to drop them — after all, oftentimes these parties are held outside of the office and after hours.

But that could be a costly mistake.

The bad feelings from these conflicts can become corrosive to office morale, leading to low productivity and turnover. Reputations hang in the balance as rumors spread and mutate with each retelling.

“With today’s millennials, if they don’t like their work environment, they will leave and find another job,” said Neil Hooper, Chief Revenue Officer for STOPit Solutions. “Employment rates are high and so are turnover rates. It’s important to create the kind of environment that allows you to keep your employees, and quite frankly, enables you to get rid of the toxic employees.”

An anonymous reporting system for workplace issues can help achieve that by encouraging bystanders to become Upstanders with smart tech solutions delivered right into their hands.

Most of the time workers want to do the right thing and share information that can alert management to problems in the office or clear the name of a co-worker who’s being unfairly maligned. However, they don’t always feel comfortable getting involved. The STOPit app gives everyone a safe way to be courageous – to protect their colleagues’ reputations with the facts, and without any fear of reprisal.

And when facts and context are important to resolving issues — which is always — anonymous reporting is a valuable asset for company compliance officers and human resource administrators, too. Often tasked with the responsibility for creating and promoting this more ideal workplace, administrators appreciate having better access to information sources who can help them sort out facts from intentional or unintentional hyperbole as they consider the appropriate, fair, and timely response to incidents.

It can be particularly helpful in industries like retail and restaurants that see a seasonal spike in business and handle it by pushing employees to work longer hours and adding temporary staff — all serving increasingly stressed and anxious customers. When you mix the ultra-busy pace of work with an influx of new and unfamiliar personalities, and add in consumer angst, the result can be a tense environment that ignites conflicts between workers. Particularly for businesses with multiple locations or with a workforce that communicates primarily through their mobile phones, communication can be especially challenging, and apps like STOPit empower everyone with one, seamless, easy to administer reporting solution.

Baking in the Holiday Blues

It is also well known that the holidays are a time when personal stress and depression levels spike. Everyone is especially vulnerable this time of year, making it even more important to have a communications outlet like STOPit on standby in the workplace.

An American Psychological Association survey exploring the causes of holiday stress found that 67 percent of respondents saw lack of time as a major factor, 62 percent cited lack of money, 47 percent the pressure of giving/getting gifts, and 35 percent the fear of raising their credit card debts. A worker who is feeling the strain from any of those things could at least partially hold their employers or their co-workers to blame. If they’re harboring hard feelings toward their job, an office party could be combustible.

“It’s a common sitcom scenario where a young employee drinks too much and they finally say what they mean to their boss,” Hooper said. “That’s funny in a sitcom, maybe not so funny in real life. Sometimes employees are crying out and they need to chance to share what’s really going on in the workplace.”

With all of that said, there is no better time than the holidays for employers to think and act positively and start setting goals for the future. For as much as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are opportunities for reflection and celebrating the year’s accomplishments, the final holiday season of the year is all about looking ahead.

“I think a great New Year’s resolution is to have 2019 be the year that we finally put a stop to bad behavior in the workplace,” Hooper said.

To learn more about how Human Resource professionals are using STOPit to improve company culture and make incident reporting and management easier, call and schedule your demo.

Nurses Caring for Communities And Being Physically Assaulted, Harassed and Bullied In Return

“Nurses need strong coping mechanisms, and as many resources as possible to handle the extremely delicate and stressful situations that they face daily. Lateral violence and workplace bullying are commonplace, and it’s not just fellow nurses who are responsible for incivility. Every member of the healthcare team – including patients, families, and doctors – can be both a target or a perpetrator. In the world of health care, the human condition is unpredictable and emotionally charged.”
~ Dr. Seun Ross, the Director of Nursing Practice and Work Environment at the American Nurses Association (representing over 3 million nurses), stated in an interview with NBC News.

In May of this year, 160 ER nurses travelled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for legislation promoting a safe workplace for health care employees. When the audience was asked: “who has ever been the victim of violence in their hospital?”, nearly every hand in the room went up.

Studies conducted by nursing associations have found that most nurses are regularly victims of bullying, harassment, racism, degradation, intimidation, unwanted sexual advances, and even violence on the job. In one study, over fifty percent of ER nurses reported experiencing violence at work within only the first seven days of their participation in the study. To make matters worse, nearly half (46.7%) of those who report incidents of any kind to their supervisor failed to receive support; and many got either no response or were asked to keep quiet.

No person should have to endure harassment or fear for their personal safety when doing their job, even nurses who expect to do hard physical work and interact with customers and co-workers in sometimes uncomfortable, intimate personal ways. And yet, obviously it happens, and with alarming frequency.

Helpers Need Help

A nurse who has been on the job for 57 years was asked if she had ever heard of a situation where a whistleblower was taken seriously and the perpetrator held accountable. She could only recall one incident – where an administrator was a known sexual predator and he was finally demoted from department head to a lower position where women were no longer required to report to him. However, he did not lose his title, seniority or salary status.

“There’s a culture of bullying and intimidation in nursing, especially for new nurses, which is why so many quit within the first five years. There is a lot of “hazing” that goes on, which I guess is meant to weed out the weak; toughen people up – but instead it creates an environment of hostility and mistrust. Bullying becomes normalized, and accepted as just one of the hazards of the job. Over time, the cumulative stress causes severe depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, absenteeism, patient neglect, apathy, alcoholism, drug use, smoking, and other unhealthy habits designed to numb the pain and frustration. Rates of suicide, divorce, and burnout are very high. Staff turnover is constant; nurses always quitting or getting fired. After many bad early experiences I’m finally at a good facility now where they encourage teamwork, pair up nurses that work well together, and foster a workplace that is safe, professional, and diverse.”
~F.V., BSN at a NJ Nursing Home and Hospice Center for 8+ years.

Hidden Costs in Healthcare: More Than Just Money

In an organization that promotes health and healing, burnout and high turnover is a liability that impacts everyone from the CEO to the patient waiting to be admitted.

The Joint Commission revealed in 2014 that …71% of physicians and nurses linked incivility to medical error, and 99% of physicians (out of 800) believed bad behavior negatively impacted patient care. This means that in addition to the toll harassment and bullying takes on nursing staff, patient care is also impacted — and ultimately, increases hospital liability.

“Healthcare is getting more and more complex. Increasing demands, decreasing resources, burn out and bullying are huge contributing factors to how employees show up every day. Public criticisms, threatening or intimidating comments, blaming, sabotage, nurse bullying and incivility, and workplace violence are all impacting patient care.”
~ Renee Thompson, DNP, RN, CMSRN, CSP; Founder of The Healthy Workforce Institute; and the leading authority on creating a healthy workforce culture by eradicating nurse bullying, workplace bullying, and incivility.

Unfortunately, bullying, discrimination, harassment and violence cannot be prevented from occurring, but nursing staff can be armed with tools to empower themselves, and also to create workplace environments where they feel supported and safe to report incidents that impact their own lives, that of their coworkers and their patients. Some attempts to address the situation that hospitals have implemented, like complaint drop boxes and 1-800 tip lines. But, they are often perceived by nursing staff as too risky as they’re not genuinely anonymous, or worse yet – “just for show”, with little or no follow up.

Fortunately, with the advent of tools like STOPit, empowering staff to report dangerous behavior is easy. It’s easy to implement safe, confidential reporting and it’s easy to administer. STOPit’s best-in-class incident management system is straightforward and logical. In less than an hour, assigned staff can be up and running on STOPit Admin, with an intuitive, customizable dashboard and user experience that makes incident management and reporting extremely manageable in the context of an already high-pressure work environment.

With the knowledge that an employer is taking the reports seriously and actively using an anonymous tool such as the STOPIt app, nursing staff can feel empowered to safely report incidents, and hospital administration can follow up in a way that is best suited for their needs and culture.

Better outcomes for staff. Better outcomes for patients. Just better.

Call today to speak with a STOPit app consultant and see if an anonymous reporting solution is right for your healthcare workplace.

Human Resource Departments Have An Important New Team Member to Help Stop Workplace Harassment, and It’s an App

New hire orientation — and all the forms and paperwork that comes with it; leave of absence forms; workers comp reports; health benefit changes; annual reviews. Human resources staffs and budgets are already stretched thin under tremendous pressure to handle more tasks, more projects and find more solutions than ever.

And there are always updates to policies and procedures. Add in new regulations, like the one just passed by the State of New York requiring employers to adopt new policies, conduct additional trainings and submit new reports to address sexual harassment in the workplace, and the administrative burden on HR just continues to increase every year.

Great Tech Helps Solve Problems

Whether these laws are good isn’t at issue. Most often, these laws and policies address very real problems that should be addressed. The New York law aimed at making workplaces safer and more equitable by stamping out sexual harassment is a good thing. Everyone should feel safe and valued, even protected, as they’re going about their daily work. That’s why more and more states are adopting similar laws with similar goals.

What is at issue is how companies can do the right thing–the best thing for their employees and their company — and find a way to do it that doesn’t stretch the HR department to the breaking point.

The HR department is often tasked with helping build healthy workplace culture. How can it meet and exceed this mission if staff are feeling overburdened and overwhelmed?

Fortunately, though many decry over-reliance on technology as a potential hazard, in this case technology done well can the the best solution to doing the right thing without overwhelming any person or department.

An anonymous reporting technology like STOPit, one that gives employees the power to speak up and ask for help with issues like sexual harassment without any fear of reprisal, is one example of technology done well. More and more companies are taking a proactive approach to empowering employees in the workplace so they can be more productive, safer and happier — and mobile app technologies are quickly becoming a solution of choice to power opportunities and solve problems.

Meeting and Exceeding Goals For Safer Workplaces

But while it’s commonplace to ask employees to download and use an app that tracks their steps in order to qualify for lower health insurance premiums, or a texting app to better communicate with team members at remote locations, until recently there hasn’t been a great choice when it comes to an app for reporting incidents of harassment, abuse and malfeasance. Traditional texting and email are straightforward communication tools for many issues, but they aren’t efficient at managing HR cases, particularly those of a sensitive nature that require anonymity and confidentiality. A new direct communication platform is needed to ensure proper and complete documentation and reporting for managing incidents that might involve disciplinary action or legal remedy.

Apps like STOPit are solving those problems.

STOPit is a two-way communications street that can lead to breakthroughs in the search for facts in troubling cases, and encourage people to stand up for themselves and for their colleagues in difficult, dangerous and unfair situations. It’s a simple, straightforward solution, combining an intuitive, easy to use interface for the anonymous reporting app with a powerful, equally intuitive incident management system that take only minutes to set up.

The entire solution requires very little training to learn to use and is packed with snapshot reports and a dashboard that makes administrative tasks simple. The system keeps a permanent record of incidents and tracks what actions were taken and when, making reporting for compliance and legal audiences a five minute task — not a chore that eats up an entire afternoon.

And, just as important, best-in-class customer service ensures that questions and requests for help are answered promptly by a dedicated representative that is focused on client success. All this ensures your HR department has the right tool tool to engage employees in building healthier, safer workplaces and also comply with ever evolving laws and policies to combat workplace harassment — a tool that’s effective, cost-effective and one that is a true time-saver for administrators.

Contact STOPit today to learn more about how you can empower your HR department and build a better, more productive workplace.

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