September 14, 2014

How to break the misconceptions & silence about domestic violence

(This is a reposting of a prior post - Why domestic violence victims don't leave - with some updated links)

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” -- that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. Leslie Morgan Steiner is a writer and outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic violence -- which includes herself

For a transcript and alternate source of the video, see this on the TED talk site.

Employers have a key role in curbing domestic violence
From a prior post on the topic, we note that because we spend so much time at work, colleagues and supervisors are often in a unique position to spot signs of domestic violence and employer can often play a critical role in directing the employee to help through referrals to an EAP or other community resource. In the past, the "none of my business" type of thinking often prevailed, but today employers know that problems at home rarely stay at home. All too often, domestic abuse comes right to the workplace:

  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.
  • Of the approximately 1.7 million incidents of workplace violence that occur in the US every year, 18,700 are committed by an intimate partner: a current or former spouse, lover, partner, or boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Lost productivity and earnings due to intimate partner violence accounts for almost $1.8 billion each year.
  • Intimate partner violence victims lose nearly 8.0 million days of paid work each year - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund identifies an annotated list of seven reasons why employers should address domestic violence. Here's a quick summary:

  • Domestic violence affects many employees.
  • Domestic violence is a security and liability concern.
  • Domestic violence is a performance and productivity concern.
  • Domestic violence is a health care concern.
  • Domestic violence is a management issue.
  • Taking action in response to domestic violence works.
  • Employers can make a difference.

Some of the basic things that employers can do include:

  • Instituting a workplace zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence
  • Providing secure work environments
  • Raising awareness of the problem by educating your employee
  • Reminding employees that help is available for domestic violence
  • Training managers and supervisors to be alert for potential signs of domestic abuse
  • Having referral protocols and resources in place for employees who need help - preferably an EAP or a social service experienced in dealing with domestic abuse

Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence - A National Resource Center project offers information for the benefit of those workplaces interested in providing effective responses to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking. Resources include a Workplace Policy creation tool as well as employer-specific resources on training, a guide for supervisors, resources on threat assessments and safety and security and an extensive list of other resources for employers and for victims.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence - the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects, and use their influence to instigate change. The mission is to aid in the prevention of partner violence by leveraging the strength and resources of the corporate community.

For the Manager: How the Workplace can Increase Safety and Provide Support – A section from the US Office of Personnel Management’s Guide that offers advice on what to say to an employee who is faced with domestic abuse and steps you as a supervisor or manager can take to protect the employee.

Initiating a Training Program - Verizon Wireless shares its approach to educating employees about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace via a collaborative program that is accessible, cost effective and easily transferable to various company locations.

Domestic-Violence Policy - State Farm Insurance Co.'s policy on domestic violence defines the term and offers a number of ways the company assists its employees who are victims.

Warning Signs for Supervisors (PDF) Blue Shield of California Foundation has prepared documents that list some warning signs -- and some of the ways a supervisor or co-worker can help -- that indicate an employee is involved in an abusive relationship.

State Law Guides These guides track state laws and bills that can help victims of domestic or sexual violence maintain the economic security they need to address the violence in their lives

State & Territorial Coalitions Against Domestic Violence – find resources in your state.

Protecting Workers Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 13, 2014

Employer obligations related to domestic violence

Domestic violence is playing out in the headlines via the disturbing video tape of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiance Janay Palmer. Since that story, a slew of other cases of domestic abuse involving National Football League (NFL) players have surfaced, opening a national dialogue in the news, in social media and at the water cooler. Besides the issue of the abuse itself, the NFL is on the carpet for their handling of Rice and other cases. Many are asking if the NFL has addressed these instances with sufficient gravity.

The law firm Seyfarth Shaw reminds employers of the the cost and serious implications of domestic violence for employers in a simple infographic on Domestic Violence: Serious Implications for Employers. It illustrates the prevalence and cost of domestic violence in the workplace, as well as a reminder that several states have laws or provisions under laws that may apply to employees who are victims of domestic violence.

In addition, attorney Mark A. Lies, II discusses an employer's "duty of care" in a one hour interview covering legal obligations of businesses to protect employees against this hazard. He explains laws governing what a business needs to know and do to prepare for and respond to a workplace violence threat by a domestic or intimate partner.

We would also remind of the important role that your EAP can and should play as a tool in addressing workplace violence.

One noteworthy recent legal development: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick just signed a law providing up to 15 days of leave for victims of domestic violence effective as of August 8, 2014. An employee notification clause creates a requirement for employers to notify employees of their rights under the Act.

(Click for a larger version at Seyfarth Shaw)

We've discussed our thoughts on domestic violence in the workplace on numerous occasions. Here are some of those related posts:

Domestic violence and the workplace

Employers have a key role in curbing domestic violence

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 12, 2014

Leadership lessons from a 4-star general: Listen, learn ... then lead

In this 15-minute TED Talk, four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. He speaks of how he was raised with traditional military leadership models, but how leadership today requires different skill sets. He found himself needing to build consensus and shared purpose with people who had different vocabularies, different experiences and different skill sets. Instead of briefing meetings and pep talks in one room, he was now required to communicate with a work force over 20 countries via email and chat programs. How can one build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.

If YouTube is blocked at your organization, you can access an alternate source at TED, where there is also an interactive transcript: Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn ... then lead


ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 7, 2014

News Roundup: Analytics, HR trends, Gen Z, ERISA & More

Predict What Employees Will Do Without Freaking Them Out
John Boudreau: "But companies are looking beyond cost savings—to driving outcomes. HR predictive analytics is touted as transforming HR from retrospective and reactive administrative reporting to strategically integrated modeling to predict behaviors, attitudes and capabilities that drive tangible organizational outcomes. Some evidence shows a correlation between HR predictive analytics and organizational performance."

5 big trends shaking up the job market
"The job market is not exactly smokin' hot, but it's an improvement over recent years. Let's zoom out a bit. Here are five important trends in the labor market that you should be thinking about beyond the monthly unemployment figure."

Report: Temp jobs at all-time high in U.S.
"A record 2.8 million Americans are working in temporary help jobs, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, a non-profit organization that advocates for low-wage and unemployed workers. ... temp jobs make up 2 percent of total employment in the U.S, the highest percentage ever."
Related: View from HR: Rise in temp workers creates challenges for employers and job seekers

Brace Yourself For Gen Z
Suzanne Lucas (AKA Evil HR Lady): "A new survey says that today's teens, also known as Generation Z, have some very distinct ideas about what they expect in a job. Are you prepared?"

ERISA: A landmark law at 40: How well is it protecting workers' retirements?
Mark Miller: "Since ERISA’s passage, we have seen a profound shift from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans, mainly 401(k)s. Pensions are a promise by employers of lifetime income in retirement; 401(k)s are a promise to contribute a certain amount to your account while you are working.
Evidence is mounting that we need to get focused on income again."

The One Word Men Never See In Their Performance Reviews
Kathleen Davis: "There's one adjective that's never used to criticize men, yet it shows up at an alarming rate in women's performance reviews."

Workplace stress 'destructive' for productivity
Employees suffering from high levels of work related stress have lower engagement, are less productive and have higher absentee levels than their peers, according to research from professional services firm Towers Watson.

Perception of Control Helps Determine Resiliency
Rick Nauert: "Discovering why some bad news makes one person work harder while other disappointing news causes someone else to quit or give up is the topic of a new research study. In the new study, researchers found different outcomes may result from how much control we feel we have over what happened. "

News Briefs



ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 5, 2014

5 things great workers do [infographic]

We thought this infographic on 5 things great workers do. By way of intro, it appeared in ‘a’ Magazine, an HR publication issued by O.C. Tanner and O.C. Tanner Institute, with the following introduction:

"1.7 million cases of award-winning work across all industries, positions, and pay grades, proves great work is a product of 5 activities people do, and 1 common intention.

The study proved that Great Work isn’t an accident. In fact, all cases of award-winning work began with a single-shared intention: to create a difference people love. Great Workers focus more on the recipient of their work, than on the work itself".

Click the infographic for a larger version with an accompanying text article.


September 4, 2014

Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share

"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment." In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression — only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories."

Visit TED talks for an alternate video source and interactive transcript

For more information and resources on depression see our recent post: Robin Williams' death puts a spotlight on depression

ESI-Logo.jpg ESI EAP offers depression and mental health counseling 24/7/365. Employee Members and their families have access to Masters and PhD level counselors. If your organization needs an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

August 31, 2014

Health & Wellness Focus for September

National Recovery Month
In its 25th year, Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly speak up about mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery, and promotes ways individuals can use to recognize behavioral health issues and reach out for help. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

National Cholesterol Education Month
Learn what steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol or to reduce your LDL "bad" cholesterol level. Too much cholesterol in the blood is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke—two leading causes of death in the United States. One way to prevent these diseases is to detect high cholesterol and treat it when it is found.

National Preparedness Month
During National Preparedness Month we ask you, your family, community and workplace to take action by planning a National PrepareAthon! Day on or around September 30th. We recommend using digital media tools as a way to promote National Preparedness Month, September 1-30th.

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and move more.

National Yoga Month
September is the official National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services) designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. Join us for National Yoga Month September 2014 - get one week of free yoga at 2200 participating studios nationwide.

National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

7-13 - National Assisted Living Week

8-14 National Suicide Prevention Week(PDF)

10 - World Suicide Prevention Day

13 - National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

17 - Backpack Awareness Day

21-27 National Farm Safety and Health Week

21-27 National Rehabilitation Week

27 - Family Health & Fitness Day

29 - World Heart Day

Looking for the most comprehensive and effective wellness program for your employees? ESI TotalCare Wellness pairs Behavioral Health Clinicians with certified Wellness Coaches to provide employees and their families with the help, motivation, tools and support to make changes and improve their lives. Call 800-535-4841 for more information.

August 24, 2014

News Roundup:HR Tech Trends, Harassment Mistakes, Upward Bullying & More

Top Trends in Tech & HR Management
"SHRM subject matter experts (SMEs) have laid out the top tech trends they see as having the biggest impact on the workplace & HR profession."

The “Dirty Dozen”: Top 12 employer harassment mistakes
Employment law attorney Robin Shea says, "In my continuing quest to make sure that none of our readers ever get sued — or, if that fails, never lose a lawsuit — here are my “Dirty Dozen” employer harassment mistakes. Are you guilty of any of these? If so, cease and desist!"

Upward Bullying
"We tend to perceive intimidating behaviors as moving only downward, where a person of authority victimizes a junior person. But clearly, managers can be targets of troubling behaviors in the workplace on the part of their own subordinates. Colloquially, this behavior has been known as “boss bashing;” experts now call it “upward bullying.”

American Horror Story: Violence in the Workplace
"The setting: Rikers Island correctional facility in New York City. The scene: A group of inmates gather around a cell where an employee has been locked in a cell, while other inmates pass around a ‘hit list’ of other employees they plan to target."

Americans are taking fewer vacations than they used to
"The average American gets 14 days off from work, according to an annual survey by the travel company Expedia, but actually uses only 10 of those days each year. It's an open question why Americans don't use it all. They say their bosses are supportive and that scheduling got in the way. Others say they're are just stockpiling it for some future trip —but wouldn't someone, then, eventually take that trip?"

8 Tips for Avoiding Your Leadership Blindspots
"Savvy leaders understand that blindspots, while they vary in severity and are different for each individual, are not the exception — instead, they “come with the territory.” The question then becomes: How do I surface and address the blindspots that matter? One way is to ask the right questions in the right way. Here are some guidelines for identifying blindspots."

Benefits Employees Wish Employers Would Offer
"Forget the foosball table in the break room and the gourmet snacks in the kitchen. The benefits employees really want from their employers are much more basic – and in many cases they center around being treated like trustworthy adults capable of getting work done without so much oversight. Here are eight of the benefits employees most want."

News Briefs

Cool tool to share:

August 22, 2014

Inspiration of the Week: Leadership lesson from RI Little League Coach

Leadership is one of the key competencies for any manager. When things go well, being a leader is great privilege - but when the chips are down or when things don't go as planned, that's often when leadership is really put to the test.

Last week, RI Little League Coach David Belisle had to help the kids from Rhode Island's Cumberland American Little League cope with being eliminated after a bitter loss in the Little League World Series. The speech he gave to his team is a great lesson in leadership.

At Forbes, David Cook analyzes why the speech was so powerful and offers tips for how you could give your team a similar speech.

The video of the kids coping with loss reminded us of another great team of kids that we featured here a few years ago - we think they are worth revisiting for the inspirational way they deal with loss: It's the heartwarming and sweet story of a remarkable group of kids who offer tremendous lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, and the truly important things in life. That's the kind of team we should all want to be part of -- true winners, every one of them!

l'equip petit from el cangrejo on Vimeo.

August 16, 2014

Life Lessons from Robin Williams

Psychologist Sherrie Campbell has written an excellent essay on Robin Williams: Life Lessons He Left Us With. It's a thoughtful piece, well worth a read. Here's an excerpt:

"Robin taught us that adult laughter and comedy were healing. He could, just by being him, make any topic, dark or light, somehow hysterically funny. We were all enamored with him because he reminded us to see the humor. Humor is an incredible way to cope when we are feeling down.
Robin taught us of vulnerability and depth. So many of his roles were touching upon the deepest pains of being human. He was able to reach into our hearts with his roles in Patch Adams, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, and What Dreams May Come. He was able to feel these vulnerabilities so deeply in his own heart that when it came to putting them into his craft, he was able to reach into and touch our own fears and vulnerabilities making us feel normal in our own humanity."

Here are a few other life lessons from Robin Williams' body of work:

Dead Poet's Society - 'Carpe Diem' from Sam on Vimeo.

esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

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