Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bullying and Adult EMS Education Podcast

Listen as I discuss workplace bullying in the context of EMS education with the hosts of EMS EdUCast, Greg Friese, Rob Theriault, and Bill Toon.

Click here.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Corporate Integrity = Organizational Performance

Companies that encourage employees to speak up about misbehavior and to communicate openly average shareholder returns 5% higher than competitors who do not encourage these behaviors, according to a Corporate Executive Board (CEB) survey cited in the January issue of T+D Magazine. The survey included 500,000 employees from 150 global companies in 85 countries.

The survey also showed that high integrity cultures are 67% less likely to see major incidences of violations of law or company policy, including harassment, finance fraud, and regulatory violations. On the other hand, in companies with a culture not focused on integrity these (mis)behaviors are 10 times more prevalent.

Further, and even more interesting, the survey indicated that when managers exhibit integrity their employees actually perform better - there was a 12% difference in employee performance between employees with integrity-driven managers and those without.

According CEB, seven specific characteristics drive corporate integrity:
1. comfort in speaking up
2. trust in colleagues
3. strong relationship with direct manager
4. tone from the top
5. clarity of expectations around compliance
6. openness of communication
7. organizational justice
In other words, organizations that focus on these seven values will see better performance, less misbehavior, better internal communication, increased shareholder returns, and a better bottom line.

Simply put, when employees trust their managers and each other they are more engaged. It's no secret that engagement means performance.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ethics Resource Center Study: Whistleblowing and Workplace Bullying

Last month the Ethics Resource Center released a survey report regarding whistleblowing and retaliation (aka workplace bullying).

The survey found that 15% of employees who reported misconduct perceived that they were retaliated against. According to the report:
60% reported another employees gave them a cold shoulder
62% reported management excluded them from decisions and work activity
55% were verbally abused by a manager
48% almost lost their job
42% were verbally abused by other employees
43% were not given a promotion or raise
27% were relocated or reassigned
18% were demoted
In other words 15% of the survey respondents reported that they were bullied as a result of their actions.

The report also discusses the value organizational culture plays in an employee's decision to report. Not surprisingly, if ethics and the value of ethical behavior comes across as a strong message from the top, employees are more likely to report misconduct. In these strong ethical cultures employees felt comfortable reporting misconduct directly to their immediate supervisor because they felt confident the report would be handled immediately and with professionalism. In climates with weak ethical cultures employees felt they could not report the behavior to their immediate supervisor and often went "up the chain" to someone believed to be more reliable in handling the issue.

Retaliation against whistleblowers is certainly nothing new. If it were, Congress would not have enacted laws against it and businesses would not have corporate policies forbidding it. As with anything, circumstances can prevail and although retaliation is illegal in many instances, it doesn't prevent it from happening.

Unfortunately, as with bullying, psychological repercussions of being retaliated against are pervasive. According to an article published in Current Sociology in 2008 by Rothschild, whistleblowers say they have suffered severe depression, decline in physical health, severe financial decline, and harmed family relationships at home. Many also begin to lose trust in the people around them - distrust becomes a way of life.

The bottom line: Retaliation for whistleblowing IS bullying. As we know, bullying is difficult to prove, especially when managers and human resources professionals everywhere disagree that bullying even exists in the first place. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Workplace bullying, stress, and fibromyalgia

From: Minding the Workplace, The New Workplace Institute Blog hosted by David Yamada

Over the past few weeks I’ve had conversations, in person and online, with three women who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and each has experienced severe bullying and heavy-duty stress at work. If you’re unfamiliar with fibromyalgia, here’s a chance to learn something about it.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, disabling medical condition marked by widespread pain and fatigue that afflicts women far more often than men. Compared to many other serious maladies, research on fibromyalgia is an early work in progress, but we’re learning a lot about it. According to the Mayo Clinic:

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on your body where slight pressure causes pain.
Fibromyalgia occurs in about 2 percent of the population in the United States. Women are much more likely to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. Fibromyalgia symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event.
In other words, we’re talking about severe, ongoing pain and the power of a knockout punch.

Gender implications

The gender implications of fibromyalgia are significant. Let’s juxtapose some numbers: If the Mayo Clinic is correct in stating that fibromyalgia will occur in 2 percent of the population, and if studies such as this one suggesting that 9 in 10 sufferers are female are even close to hitting the mark, then we have a hidden epidemic among women.

Bullying connection

The Workplace Bullying Institute recognizes that fibromyalgia can be a consequence of workplace bullying (link here). Research is making the link: For example, a 2008 study led by Canadian researcher Sandy Hershcovis (news coverage, here) found that workplace bullying targets were more likely to develop fibromyalgia. A 2004 study led by Finnish researcher Mika Kivimaki (abstract, here), found that stress at work “seems to be a contributing factor in the development of fibromyalgia.”

Read the rest of this article by David Yamada at his blog by clicking here.