October 07, 2010
Simply put, cyber-bullying is the use of technology – including email, instant messaging, social networks, or the inappropriate use of cameras and smart phones – to harass, threaten, embarrass or otherwise target another person.
It is important for all employers to review whether they have appropriate resources in place to be able to address these concerns when they arise. A starting place is to ensure that your organization has policies, such as Anti-Harassment, Electronic Communications, or Workplace Violence policies in place that inform employees about the standards of appropriate workplace conduct. In light of increased activity with technology, including the use of personal equipment including smart phones, iPads, etc., it is important to review these policies and add clear language about bullying, including cyber-bullying, to these policies. And, when concerns are raised, organizations should take immediate action by conducting investigations and resolving disputes.
On the subject of workplace monitoring of company-owned equipment, if that’s the route you want to take, be sure to coordinate your efforts with your IT departments. Sometimes the cyber-bullying will occur off premises and not on company time. Be sure to consult with your legal counsel on what actions may be taken to address off-duty conduct.
In addition to ensuring that the corporate systems are in place, it is key to focus on employees who raise concerns and to educate supervisors and managers on how to handle issues that arise and what they should be looking out for. Get advice: talk to the representatives of your Employee Assistance Programs about how they might be able to provide counseling for employees. Often times, cyber-bullying, like other forms of harassment or violence, has emotional or psychological consequences.
From newspaper reports, Mr. Clementi may have posted his concerns about the broadcasting of his intimate encounter, on message boards and complained to his dorm supervisors. Training is going to be a key element of your plan for prevention. Train your managers to recognize signs of employee distress and on crisis management and intervention techniques for when issues arise. Train all of your employees on the proper adherence to the various policies that your organization has in place to address these issues. Being proactive and educating our workforce about the ever-growing issues involving the use – and misuse – of new technologies that have an impact in the workplace may help prevent another terrible tragedy.
This is a guest post from Blue Mesa Group practitioner Laurie Zeligson. Read more from Laurie here.
Laurie has spent 25 years helping businesses and their employees do the right thing. An experienced employment law attorney and human resources professional based out of our offices in New York, NY, Laurie consults on all types of workplace issues ranging from discrimination and harassment to ethics, compliance programs and policy development. Read her full bio, here.
September 10, 2010
We must abandon all hope of creating a better past.
Wise leaders learn from the past, are keenly aware of the present, and using what they know now, shape the future.
Some of our best teachers are the mistakes we make. Few of us slip-up intentionally. Yet we can spend an inordinate amount of time in regret and even remorse, and miss the valuable lesson that is right in front of us.
Tom Watson, founder of IBM epitomized the value of mistakes. His message to leaders of IBM was, “Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. It is better to aim at perfection and miss it than to aim at imperfection and hit it. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side.”
What have you learned today about a mistake you made yesterday? Emulate Mr. Watson by going to the far side. It might change your life.
June 08, 2010
June 07, 2010
Ethics have been tested and violated since the beginning of time. But their importance today is paramount. It is easy to give power to the justifications and the ‘yeah buts’. Now is the time to recommit to leading from principle and ethics.