Improve Employee Retention Using 2020 Vision: Care Principle Helps Your Business Keep The Best Of The Best

Anne was a smart, creative, enthusiastic employee, and her supervisor saw her as a key part of the company’s future. Hearing that made her feel gratified and appreciated — but apparently not everyone felt the same.

Whether out of jealousy, a feeling of being overlooked, or both, a female co-worker who’d been there longer began undermining her with a whispering campaign. A few of Anne’s colleagues let her know that the woman was spreading rumors around the office that she and the married supervisor were romantically involved, and that was the reason she was receiving so much positive attention.

Angry and embarrassed, Anne told the story to her supervisor, expecting him to make the situation right. Instead, he told her he didn’t believe the co-worker would ever do such a thing, and told her to ignore it.

“He was trying to avoid a conflict, but I felt hurt that he didn’t look out for me,” she said. “I couldn’t come in every day and smile to this person’s face and pretend like nothing ever happened.”

She started looking for a new job that night. A month later, she was gone.

In an economy with 3% unemployment and ample opportunities for mobility, it is not enough to simply provide competitive pay and benefits. People want to work in a place where they feel they belong. They want to work for people who care.

Human Resource Executive recently wrote about this care principle and its importance for retaining and attracting top talent. The article centered on a white paper called “The Science of Care” by the Limeade Institute, which surveyed Americans about their workplace experiences. The study found that when employees felt cared for:

  • 60% planned to stay at their company for three plus years (as opposed to only 7% of those who didn’t feel cared for)
  • 90% said they’re likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work (vs. 9% of those who didn’t feel cared for)
  • 94% said they feel personally engaged in their work (vs. 43% of those who didn’t feel cared for)
  • 56% said they didn’t feel burned out (vs. 16% of those who didn’t feel cared for)

“The modern workplace demands an intentional shift from one that prioritizes the needs of employers to one that prioritizes the needs of employees,” said Dr. Laura Hamill, one of the white paper’s authors. “In order to do so, companies must take a ‘whole-person’ approach to managing the employee experience – from well-being to diversity and inclusion to employee engagement and other programs that make employees feel cared for both as organizational members and humans.”

In Anne’s case, the manager prioritized his desire to avoid an unpleasant conversation over the emotional needs of a model employee who was the victim of harassment. As a result, the company lost one of its most productive workers. (STOPit Solutions #1 in HR Technologist article, 6 Effective Tools for Reporting Harassment in the Workplace 2020)

Perhaps the problem could have been addressed if there were a channel in place for Anne or one of her co-workers to anonymously report the situation to upper management or a human resources officer. Then, the stories could have been investigated and independently corroborated, with appropriate disciplinary measures taken by someone who was not personally connected to the situation.

Workplaces can show their talent they care about them by instituting an anonymous reporting system like STOPit. The easy-to-use app offers a stress-free way for employees to speak up and communicate information they may not be comfortable approaching their supervisors with, from misbehavior in the office to an ideas for how a routine office task can be handled more efficiently.

STOPit can be set up and customized for your workplace in a matter of hours. Contact STOPit today to learn more about how anonymous reporting can help you protect your work culture and retain top talent.

Curious why over 5,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

All Aboard: Why HR Managers Should Be Using the Momentum of #MeToo to Build Better Corporate Culture and Realize Big Savings

Two years since the launch of the #MeToo movement, awareness about the prevalance of sexual harassment — and its impact — has never been higher. We’ve witnessed massive women’s marches in the nation’s cities (and around the world), signaling an end to the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ history of silence and shame about sexual harassment incidents. As more and more people feel safe and supported to speak up, we’ve seen allegations against even the most high-profile figures in politics, Hollywood and every other corner of American life, encouraging even more conversation and frank talk about the effects of harassment on our emotional and mental health — and in our careers. 

More and more, companies that take pride in delivering superior goods and services are the same ones being recognized as ‘best-places-to-work’, creating the positive work culture that attracts, supports and retains the best employees. For these pace-setters, positive work culture isn’t simply a branding strategy — it’s a moral imperative that drives every major business decision. These are the companies that are taking a proactive approach to the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, enacting zero tolerance policies for misconduct, more thorough response plans to handle complaints, and mandatory training and education programs for employees.

With HR professionals and managers taking all of these great steps, which of the statements below would you guess is true of sexual and sex-based harassment in today’s workplace?

  1. A)     Incidents are on the wane
  2. B)     Allegations have reached record levels

Statistics say the answer is B, and yet both may be true. An analysis of a decade’s worth of data by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that the number of charges filed with the agency alleging sex-based harassment reached the 13,000 mark for the first time in 2018. At the same time, overall charges related to discrimination were down. The rise in charges doesn’t appear to be a result of people acting worse than ever, but of people standing up for themselves more confidently than ever.

Download the infographic to learn how to empower your employees post #MeToo.

Reacting to the data in The Washington Post, EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic credited the higher numbers to the #MeToo movement.

“Quite honestly, as we’ve been putting this all together over the last week, I wasn’t sure what the numbers were going to show,” she said. “I suspected there was an increase, but I think it absolutely reflects a greater willingness to report it and speak up about it.”

Meanwhile, the monetary benefits paid out to victims in EEOC cases reached a record $56.6 million in 2018. It was a 22% increase from the prior year and the first time the number ever eclipsed the $50 million mark.

The Price to Pay

The math is clear: A rise in employees standing up to harassment plus ballooning litigation costs equals trouble no business can afford. The costs of these issues in the workplace – from settlements, to reputational damage, to employee recruiting – are a threat even for thriving businesses. Those that spend time and money on preventative measures are making a worthy investment.

Consider the following costs, according to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Center for Hospitality Research:

Reputational: There are no secrets in the digital age. Thanks to job rating sites and old-fashioned word of mouth in the industry, the news that your office is not a respectful place to work will travel and chase away top young talent. The direct and indirect costs of a poor record on harassment has been tabbed at $180,000 per year for a business that grosses $1 million annually.

Legal: Payouts and legal costs for sexual harassment average between $75,000 and $125,000 per lawsuit.

Turnover: The cost of replacing an employee who leaves because of harassment is nearly $6,000. Among the expenses included in that figure are over $3,000 in lost productivity with the position empty; $1,170 for time and resources spent in recruiting replacements; and over $800 for orientation and training.

Productivity: The price of an employee not leaving can be steep too. Those who stick out the abuse will see their work suffer from the stress and depression, running an estimated $22,500 per employee in lost productivity.

Anonymous Reporting

Even with the upswing in upstanders, many victims will always be hesitant to come forward. A recent study found that nearly three-quarters of women and 81% of men who are sexually harassed don’t report it.

Anonymous reporting options open the lines of communication between victims or their concerned colleagues and administrators who are in a position to help. STOPit Solutions’ easy-to-use mobile app allows employees to share information through an interface that looks and feels like a text message conversation and offers total anonymity for those disclosing information. The arrangement gives victims a chance to grow comfortable sharing their stories with administrators, and supplies the employer with a written record of allegations for its investigation.

Whether you set up an email account dedicated to sharing complaints or implement a sophisticated, integrated solution like STOPit, anonymous reporting can eradicate abusive behavior before it takes root and causes more harm. It protects your positive office culture and gives your company a better chance to continue attracting — and retaining — top talent. Contact STOPit today to learn how its tools can ensure sexual harassment won’t cost your business.

How to Boost Morale and Your Company Productivity: Get Employees Out of the Office

Edison said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” In the office, when it comes to your best and brightest workers, watch out for stagnation and exasperation.

In a Deloitte poll of American workers, 77% reported experiencing burnout at their current job and 91% said having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work. It was a prevalent feeling during the belt-tightening of the Great Recession, as companies shed workers and placed the burden on their smaller staffs to pick up the slack. As a result, workers solely had time for the essential work required to keep their businesses afloat.

Nowadays, employers can put their staffs in that position at their own peril. A far-improved job market means employees have plenty of other options and won’t hesitate to take advantage of them. This is especially true of young talent. Per the Deloitte survey, nearly half of millennials say they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out, a rate higher than any other age group.

STOPit Solutions partners with industry leaders to help improve and protect a company’s best work culture. Learn more.

According to a Gallup poll of American workers, about 30% typically say they feel “engaged” in their jobs. The data shows a strong correlation between engaged workers – the ones who care most about whether the company thrives or fails — and the availability of professional development opportunities through their jobs.

Do These Things to Keep Your Best Employees:

A common thread between the leading workers in any industry is that they want to be the best. Don’t confine these high achievers to their cubicles. Help them reach the next level by getting them out of the office into environments that teach them something new and get their creative juices flowing. Here are five ways you can do it.

Conferences: The panel talks at trade shows and industry conferences offer a classroom-like experience that workers seldom see once their college days are over. Encourage them to attend these sessions to learn how to stay ahead of the curve in their industries. Conferences are also an outstanding networking opportunity. You may be a part of the best staff in the business, but there’s always something to learn from peers with different perspectives.

Skills Trainings: This is an item companies often treat as an unnecessary perk that they can’t afford to offer. In reality, they can’t afford not to. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. In an age when wildly popular technologies go extinct a year later, it is critical to keep workers at the fore of trends impacting how they do their jobs.

Tabling at Industry Events: There is perhaps no better way to learn about your company and feel more engaged than to talk about it nonstop for a few days. The answers you don’t know will force you to ask your co-workers questions and sharpen the blade for the next time you need to give a presentation or a sales pitch. The conversations you have will reveal invaluable insights on what your customers think about your services.

Work in Other Offices: See how the other half lives. If your company has offices in other places, give your employees opportunities to work in one of them every once in a while. Spending time with their colleagues is great for building company culture and working relationships that can yield greater success in the future.

Social Events: You’ll never break down the barriers between management and staff if they don’t get to know each other. Social events like happy hours or coffee klatches between members of different divisions give workers the chance to learn about each other’s passions and talents. These conversations may inform you that there’s no need to post an ad for external candidates when an opportunity for advancement opens up. There’s nothing quite as reinvigorating for an employee than seeing their work recognized with a promotion.


STOPit Solutions is working with industry leaders across the US to help support safe, healthy workplace cultures and encourage positive employee engagement. 

Call us today, and let’s talk about how we can help you meet your goals for building your best workplace culture.

Top 3 Ways to Ensure a Positive Work Culture

“I love my job.” It’s something everyone wishes they could say, yet many truthfully cannot.

What does it take to get someone there? Great compensation certainly helps, but money can’t (entirely) buy that love.

A Deloitte survey of 1,000 American workers and 300 executives found that of those who felt their company had a distinct work culture, 84% said they were happy at work and 86% felt valued by their company. A positive work culture fuels a happy, productive staff and vice versa.

Job candidates today want to work in places with a great culture and have the means to find them. There is no shortage of websites that provide a platform for employees to share insights on what it’s really like behind closed doors. If the staff is miserable, word will get out.

A positive work culture is essential to attracting and retaining the best talent, and ultimately maintaining a viable business. Here are a handful of actions your company can take to build a thriving office culture:


Each year, analyzes all of its job reviews for Fortune 500 companies and tabulates a ranking of the best places to work. It’s no coincidence that the top 10 consists of many of the same companies every time.

When you skim the summaries of places like Facebook, Apple, Google, Disney, and Nike, you’ll find a common thread–all have a top-down commitment to being the absolute best in their space. Their work cultures revolve around innovation and excellence, and employees who enjoy being innovative and excellent.

This should be the goal of any business, large or small. If you run a local carpet installation business, you want a staff that aims to be the best in your field. The crew should take pride in being told what a difference they’ve made; you can encourage them to take before/after shots of every job to remind them of their impact. They should also care if they get called back to a job site to fix a section that turned out shabby.

INTO ACTION: If your company doesn’t have a mission statement, take the time to write one that articulates a positive vision for your work. Keep it simple and make sure everyone understands what’s expected of them.


Another interesting finding in the Deloitte study was a gap in perception between executives and employees when it comes to work culture. On many counts, leadership held the belief that things were going great when the rank-and-file had a less rosy view of their daily experience.

It’s a common symptom of what ails the hierarchical corporate chain-of-command. Ordinary workers are discouraged-and sometimes even prohibited-from approaching top brass, so they only know what they’re told by their department heads.

When Deloitte asked whether senior leadership regularly communicates the company’s core values and beliefs, the executives were 16% more inclined to say yes than their employees. In addition, 65% of executives felt leadership regularly speaks about the company’s culture, vs. 51% of employees; 12% more executives than employees were inclined to say they could clearly explain their company’s culture to others.

It’s a classic case of disconnect between the C-suite and the cubicles. A great work culture depends on finding ways to break down the barriers between upper management and staff. You’ll never understand each other if you never talk to each other.

INTO ACTION: Senior leadership can cut out the middle managers and open the lines of communication directly to staff by holding monthly coffee chats. Rotate the departments each time so the managers can meet more people and get a broader lay of the land.


Again, while nothing quite says “I love you” like a substantial raise, there are other ways to foster a company culture that values its employees. You can celebrate individuals’ successes as a team. You can offer a path for advancement for those who are making the company better.

Perhaps most of all, you can lay down an unbreakable demand that everyone treat their co-workers with respect and help to inspire a speak up culture (our real-time employee engagement app can help!). No tolerance exists for those who would bully or harass co-workers who they view as different or lesser than themselves. In the era of #MeToo, that kind of toxicity prompts the death of a company’s positive office culture and places it on the path to financial peril.

If you want your workers to love their job, make this part easy for them. Take steps every day to inspire, understand, and respect them.

INTO ACTION: Feature an employee each week or month using the company’s social media, intranet, or other communications platforms. Consider a fun format, like a written or video Q&A, that gives readers a sense of the subjects’ work and who they are as people.

Is Your Phone Summer Ready? It’s Time to Start Summer Hours for Your Mobile Device!

For millions of American workers, Memorial Day weekend not only ushered in the unofficial start of summer, but the official start of summer hours. According to the Washington Post, around 40 percent of American companies now offer some version of the summer Friday perk to keep power charges low and recharge workers’ mental batteries.

So how about setting summer hours for our mobile device use? If you’re like most Americans, you can use it.

A mounting body of research shows cell phone addiction is a pervasive problem that’s deteriorating our health in numerous ways – anxiety, depression, loss of sleep, even wrist and hand pains. We know we’re on them too much, yet we do it anyway.

Dr. Jenna Meyerberg, PhD, LPC, an authority on youth social and emotional development, has written extensively about how living in an age of instant communication and nearly unlimited access to information is having a significant, negative impact on people. STOPit Solutions recently had an opportunity to sit with Dr. Meyerberg and talk about electronics addiction on the STOPit Solutions Podcast. In addition to providing helpful suggestions for encouraging everyone to unplug and being more present in real life (aka “IRL”), she shares  evidence-based research proving that people who are more disciplined in their online habits have higher self-esteem and confidence than their tech-obsessed peers.

These statistics and trends may feel oppressive, but the fact is that we DO have control over our own behavior and there’s no better time for a break than now. The beaches are open, the sun is out until 8:30 at night, and the warm breeze smells like flowers, the neighbor’s barbecue and freshly cut grass. Go out and enjoy it! Read on for a few simple ways we can institute summer hours for our phones and tablets.


Make a Plan and Apply It

A good way to start is to diagnose the ailment and set your cure. Both Apple and Google now have apps (Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing, respectively) that can tell you how much time you’re spending on your devices, with breakdowns by specific apps and categories.

Those who haven’t checked their stats before may be in for a shock. Studies have suggested that Americans check their phones once every 12 minutes – or roughly 80 times per day – and spend about four hours on them daily. Thankfully, Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing can be programmed to enforce time limits for your apps and lock them if you’ve crossed the line.

Take a look at your averages, come up with realistic goals for curbing your time and use these apps to hold you to them. Can you cut your app use by an hour per day? Two? Take the challenge!

No-Go Times

The dinner table used to be a family’s impenetrable bubble from the world. Kids told mom and dad what they learned in school and there were no interruptions allowed from the TV or ringing phones. Now everyone at the table is glued to Twitter and video games while they chew.

We can all make a meaningful dent in our gadget use by declaring them off-limits at times when good manners dictate they should be off anyway. Set a rule that they’re not allowed in the same room as the dinner table. Apply the same standards to times that are meant to be about family and friends – summer vacation trips, graduation parties, the annual golf outing. You can never get those moments back.

And if you’re out for a meal with friends, encourage everyone to pile them in the center of the table with the sound off. First person to give in picks up the check!

Be a Cellular Role Model

If you want to make summer hours stick with your kids, do as you say and say as you do. Like just about anything with parenting, it’s easy to dictate a bunch of rules and quite another thing to enforce them. If you lecture your kids about a bad behavior and then model it in front of them, they won’t take the lesson seriously or follow it.

If you lay down a “no Kindle before summer camp” rule, don’t let them see you glued to Facebook over your morning coffee. Show them it can be done.

Think about ways you can make summer hours a family affair. If everyone in your house is a part of the challenge, you can hold each other accountable and set up fun prizes for those who reach their goals.

And who knows — once summer hours are over and schools are back in session, maybe some of these healthy, new habits will stick. To paraphrase an old saying, “An app less per day keeps the doctor away.”

Into Action

Download our tip sheet and hang it on the refrigerator and home and work — or pass it along to a friend who you can recruit to take the challenge with you.

For extra satisfaction, write down what you did during the hour (or two) you reclaimed each day. Did you get an extra hour of sleep? Take the time to cook your favorite meal? Walk the dog on a new trail or have that family movie night you keep talking about? Let’s work together to live healthier, happier lives — right now! 

Analytics Reveal Issues Most Frequently Reported by Restaurant Staffs

When thousands of restaurant industry members gather in Chicago for the 100th Annual National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21, they won’t just be sampling the food and beverages. They’ll also take part in peer-to-peer conversations and expert panel sessions about the right recipe for ensuring their staffs are happy, safe and productive.

A key ingredient is an outlet for employees to report workplace problems to management anonymously and without fear of reprisal. STOPit Solutions conducted an analysis of anonymous reports submitted by employees at all of its restaurant industry customers nationwide and came up with a breakdown of the most common complaint types.

Here are the top four reporting types by those in the food service industry in order of volume:

STOPit Solutions Top Reporting Types for Food Service

As a way to remedy these issues and investigate the source of the problem, a growing number of restaurateurs are adopting STOPit Solutions. In doing so, they are able to combat what might be negatively affecting their businesses like high employee turnover. As the name suggests, STOPit helps solve these problems by empowering workers to take the critical first step– making management aware of them. In restaurants, that’s not something that always happens.

Restaurants are small worlds where everyone, from the waiter, to the bus boy, to the hostess, relies on one another to do their part to deliver a good meal and positive dining experience to customers. When workers in this chain are harassed or bullied, the thought of reporting the situation to management is often too stressful to follow through with. Rather than risk inflaming tensions with staff members who they’ll have to work in close quarters with each day, many simply decide to leave.

The nonprofit and 2019 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year recipient, Giving Kitchen, which assists Atlanta-area restaurant workers with emergencies and social service needs, has used its position as an influencer to recommend that eateries consider STOPit to protect their workplace cultures. Executive Director Bryan Schroeder views his organization’s use of STOPit as an investment in its staff and future.

“I really place a high value in creating a safe workplace and want to do everything we can at Giving Kitchen to ensure the camaraderie, the friendships, the closeness we have today is protected as we grow as an organization,” he said.

Schroeder said STOPit Solutions was first brought to his attention by Nancy Oswald, a Giving Kitchen Board of Trustees member who co-owns and operates several Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses in the U.S. Southeast.

“She’s one of the smartest, most adept business people I know, and when I started having a discussion with her about creating a stable workplace environment for men and women in the restaurant industry and maybe creating a resource kit for restaurants, the first thing she brought up was STOPit,” Schroeder said.

While many organizations feel that they already have adequate safeguards in place in the form of a suggestion box or legacy hotline, workers often feel more comfortable using digital platforms that allow them to share information without the risk of being seen or overheard. STOPit also provides management an opportunity to respond to tips and ask for further information while still respecting an employee’s confidentiality. There are supplemental service options available to make the tool more powerful, including 24/7 monitoring of the account and specialized training for administrators and staffs.

“Restaurants have seen success in making speaking up a part of their training process and legal experts stress that restaurant owners should mandate employees leverage their anti-bullying and harassment policies,” said Agatha Asch, Director of Communications. “If employees know that management values when they speak up about harassment, theft, or workplace issues, then it becomes part of a company’s DNA from the very start, which ultimately helps businesses run smoother.”

Contact STOPit Solutions to learn more about how anonymous reporting can encourage an open flow of information between staffs and management, reducing disputes, distractions and even legal problems.

If you’re attending the National Restaurant Association Show, come say hello to us at Booth 10260.

Legislative Update: States Move to Give Employees More Resources to Fight Workplace Harassment and Bullying

The first few months of 2019 have been a busy time for state lawmakers working to combat sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. Below is a roundup of recent action in state capitals:

CALIFORNIA: All employers with five or more workers must now provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour to non-supervisor employees. Previously, the mandate only applied to employers of 50 or more. The amendment to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act was approved by the governor in the fall and took effect on New Year’s Day.

In other news, the State Senate unanimously passed a bill in April that would make it illegal to enforce dress codes or grooming policies that prohibit hairstyles historically identified with minorities, such as braids, afros and locks. The Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair (CROWN) Act seeks to challenge the assumption that white styles of dress and appearance should be the template of “professionalism” while black traits are inferior. “There are still far too many cases of black employees or applicants denied promotion or employment, even terminated, because of the way they choose to wear their hair,” bill sponsor, Holly Mitchell, said on the Senate floor.

COLORADO: A bill introduced in the State Senate would create a new Office of Legislative Workplace Relations to handle sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers. The measure was crafted in the wake of a recent report that found over one-quarter of legislative workers – including elected officials, staff, lobbyists, aides and interns – have been a victim of or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace. Of those, 87% declined to report the matter, with the most commonly cited reason being a fear of using the reporting process. Under current law, victims must file complaints against Senate and Assembly members with the leaders of their chambers, who then decide what punishment, if any, is warranted.

MINNESOTA: The House of Representatives passed a bill in March that would strike the state’s current definition of sexual harassment as a situation where the offender’s behavior is “severe of pervasive.” Proponents for the change contend that the language made it too difficult to sue for abuse that clearly crosses the line. The new definition would cover “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature” when: a) submission to that conduct is made a condition of employment or compensation; b) submission to or rejection of that conduct is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment or compensation; or c) that conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. The bill is now before the Senate.

NEW YORK: New York City has launched a new unit within its Commission on Human Rights to investigate an increasing number of gender-based and sexual harassment complaints in the workplace. The aim of the Gender-Based Anti-Harassment Unit is to expedite high priority cases, reduce retaliation against victims for reporting harassment, and identify widespread problems within workplaces. The Commission also announced the addition of gender identity definitions in its legal guidance regarding discrimination on the basis of gender expression, with updated terms such as transgender and intersex.

RHODE ISLAND: A pair of bills targeting workplace harassment were passed in the State Senate in April and now head to the House of Representatives for consideration. The Healthy Workplace Act of 2019 (2019-S 0090) would make it easier for workers to take legal action against employers and co-workers for bullying, harassment and other abusive behavior that may not fall into other categories that are already protected such as race, sex or sexual orientation. The legislation aims to provide legal relief for employees who have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically by deliberate exposure to abusive work environments. It would also provide legal incentives for employers to prevent and respond to abusive mistreatment of employees at work.

In the same week, the Senate approved a bill (2019-S 0330) that would require organizations with four or more employees to conduct sexual harassment training, rather than the current 50 employee threshold. New employees would need to receive the training within one month of hire.

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.


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