Cause and effect is a simple yet invaluable concept that is learned at a very young age. IF you touch the stove, THEN you will get burned. IF you don’t eat, THEN you will get hungry. As we mature, this set of causal relationships is engrained in our behavior. We become hardwired to avoid negative consequences.
What happens however when the threat of those consequences are removed? Would we drive the speed limit if there wasn’t a threat of seeing those flashing blue lights in the rearview? Would we waste our valuable time aiming for those eight hours of sleep if we felt fine getting only a couple each night?
Would your boss think twice about making a lewd “joke” if there was a threat of actual consequences?
Harassment often starts as an off-handed comment. Perhaps it’s inappropriate language, a misplaced insult or even a suggestive compliment. When that isn’t met with opposition, or even the fear of reprimand, then it can gradually escalate. An insult can turn into a mumbled racial slur; a suggestive compliment can turn into a sexual advance. It’s a vicious cycle of provocation, harassment and intimidation, which if left unchecked, will continue playing on repeat.
Unfortunately, this lack of reprimand has created workplace environments in which unacceptable behavior has become the daily norm. Offensive speech is passed off as “water-cooler talk”, sexual innuendo is just being “one of the guys”, and what would in most circles be considered hate speech is just “messing around”. This atmosphere can become endemic to a workplace without any indication to new employees that they’re entering a hostile work environment. While it may be the day-to-day for those who have become numb to the behavior, it can be devastating for those on the receiving end of the harassment.
The seemingly simple solution – report the incident as soon as it occurs. Correcting negative behavior before it intensifies is always easier than trying to adjust it when it becomes the norm. This is much easier said than done, however.
The top two reasons why victims do not report harassment:
Fear is a powerful thing; a terrible and controlling thing. The threat of losing your job, be branded a “rat”, being viewed as culpable just by association is more than enough for most victims to opt for silence. Fear is also often leveraged as a direct threat by the aggressor. IF you speak out about this I’ll deny it and you’ll get fired.
Embarrassment is an equally paralyzing deterrent for reporting undesirable behavior. The emotional impact of being bullied, sexually harassed, or intimidated cannot be overstated. It leaves many victims choosing silence over reporting, despite the long-lasting psychological impacts.
Even if the hurdles of fear and embarrassment can be overcome, many workplaces do not have the structure for victims to report an incident to the appropriate persons within an organization.
The Woices app was specifically designed to break this cycle of silence. It singlehandedly enables employees to reach top management instantly, directly, and discreetly, by hiding their identities, thus removing the barriers of both fear and embarrassment. While this is extremely powerful for the individual reporting harassment, it becomes exponentially valuable in detecting patterns of abuse from specific individuals.
Allegations are unfortunately easily dismissed when it appears to be a single incident, however when victims are given a means to report without retaliation or judgment it can build a history and clear picture of the bad characters within a workforce.
Woices doesn’t just help employees speak up and be heard without fear or hesitation, it also enables a company invaluable insight into a possibly toxic work culture. This toxicity is counterproductive to employee morale, productivity and a sense of belonging which helps create a positive workplace culture.
Additionally, addressing abusive or inappropriate employees early on can avoid the potentially damaging development of sexual harassment or civil lawsuits and the accompanying public relations nightmares.
Woices goal is to create a safe and respectful workplace for all. There is no better way to STOP the cycle of abuse within a toxic work environment.
From an infrastructure perspective, implementing the Woices app is an easy task of a few hours of setup. The return is an unparalleled ability to identify concerning patterns and alert top management to implement timely action, counseling, or training.
Identical to the learned consequences of our youth, those that violate our basic human rights must be identified AND held accountable before the pattern of disrespect and harassment can be broken. It isn’t enough for them to know what they are doing is wrong, they must have a direct correlation between negative behavior and punishment.
If I don’t pay my electric bill, Then I’m going to be sitting in the dark. IF I continue making these unwanted sexual advancements, Then I’m going to get fired!