Fran's Blog

Investigating Further


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Diversity training is a multimillion-dollar industry. There is no doubt a place for educating employers and employees about the challenges of our increasingly

Part of being a good investigator is simply being a good listener. Being open, receptive, encouraging and nonjudgmental goes a long way towards getting

It is widely assumed that when an investigation finds evidence of misconduct that a termination of the “bad actor’s” employment frequently follows. While

Perhaps you’ve been working virtually for years, or perhaps you have just moved to WFH. The novelty of videoconferencing, chatting on multiple Slack channels, and clearing more emails than you’ve ever received might just be wearing off.

In these days of #metoo, there is a lot of valuable sharing going on. People of all gender identities are sharing their stories of workplace harassment up to and including assault. This societal convulsion is good for the attention it is bringing to the ubiquitous problem of workplace harassment, but it is also resulting in some harmful throwback theories about what can be done about the problem.

#MeToo has been a powerful moment. Some of its aftermath has been good, such as employers paying more attention to their complaint process, employees feeling more empowered to speak up, and burgeoning models for bystanders and allies to add their voices to the need for safe and respectful conduct.

We have too much fear in our workplaces. As human beings, our emotional, cognitive and psychological attention is drawn to threats. Things that cause us to perceive that our well-being is in danger spark physiological and neurological processes that help us protect ourselves. Small threats cause us to secrete cortisol and adrenaline and to experience enough stress to motivate us to tackle the issue (fight) or to avoid it (flight.) In that way, we are well equipped to take the steps that preserve our safety and well being.

A magnifying glass has, of late, been turned on unlawful harassment, and, rightfully, organizations are focused on addressing systems that have not always resulted in respect and accountability. This is essential. However, if we believe people deserve safety, fairness, and respect in their workplaces, there needs to be a similar focus on abusive conduct that is neither gender-based nor unlawful. Relational aggression, or “quiet bullying,” is a serious problem.

Hello from the frigid temperatures of Minnesota, where I have a rare day at my desk and time to reflect on what the field is telling me. It’s been 10 states, 20 cities and lots and lots of workshops and assessments lately, and each experience has been a reminder that while our organizational conversations evolve to discuss the importance of inclusion, civility, and respect, it remains important that we remember our basics. Please feel free to add your basics in the comments!

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