Emtrain Blog

How to Respond to "Orange" Workplace Conduct

If you follow Emtrain’s views on sexual harassment and workplace conduct, you know we believe in color coding conduct as a shared workplace language. People have different views on what is or is not harassment and one person’s “harassment” is another person’s friendly gesture. So you have different perceptions. You also have imprecise language that makes differing perceptions an even bigger challenge to navigate. People say “harassment” imprecisely so it’s pretty common to have a frustrated person call out harassment when in fact, it’s really less than harassment (but still problematic) and the person is simply reacting from emotion and frustration. So the benefit of using a shared workplace language, specifically designed to categorize and describe workplace conduct on a respectful spectrum is a proactive way to anticipate sticky situations and get people communicating effectively, enabling them to course correct and eliminate negative “people” situations that crop up when people work together.  

The Workplace Color Spectrum™

People Skills Require A Shared Workplace Language

People often believe they have all the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the workplace without conflict … as long as they are a “nice” person. But here’s the deal… other than a few bad eggs… most people are “nice.” That doesn’t mean we understand people and can make the right “people” choices in the moment. People are complicated, which is reflected by the large market of therapists: marital counselors, family counselors, life coaches, etc. Work relationships are often just as impactful as family and romantic relationships, and just like those relationships, they require knowledge and practice to build strong “people” skills, essential when a person wants to support a healthy organization, aka, be a workplace culture keeper. 

Problems arise when you don’t have the knowledge and skills to be a workplace culture keeper, and harassment is one of the biggest problems. But again, people are generally “nice” even when they’re acting in a way that another person perceives as harassing. How is that possible? It’s possible because people generally lack the skills and experience to navigate people issues and can end up disrespecting or offending someone without the intent to do so.

Strong Cultures Produce Strong Results

In the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with three remarkable business leaders - Steve Cadigan, who was previously at Linkedin, Dave Mandelbrot, the CEO of Indiegogo and Jon Hicks, employment counsel at Netflix.  I encourage everyone to listen to each of the discussions because they each talked about how a strong culture helps produce strong business results and they gave illustrations of how that concept played out at Linkedin, Indiegogo and Netflix.

At Linkedin, their mission of putting their members first helped steer critical business decisions early in the company history and their strong core values helped them recruit top talent in Silicon Valley, often winning talent away from Apple, Google and Facebook. According to Steve, having core values and a strong culture is like a “true north” that guides the company in times of change.

Using Core Values in Workplace Culture to Drive Results

How do savvy business leaders use workplace culture to drive results? They weave culture and values into every aspect of the business - from recruiting to onboarding, to team dynamics and career advancement, or, when necessary, discipline and termination.  When the workplace culture is integrated into the business, it becomes the structure that allows the team and business to grow in a healthy, productive way.

Core values must have power

Three Ways to Make Sure Your Online Training Program Hits the Mark

More than ever, company leaders are being asked to step up efforts to prevent harassment and other workplace misconduct. Many leaders in HR, talent, training, diversity and legal departments have wondered whether designing a robust training program will help them with their prevention efforts. This is especially true given recent news stories that say online harassment training hasn’t proven effective. Digging deeper into the data and research on this topic, what is clear is that poorly designed and poorly executed training is ineffective; so the secret is to find training that is actually effective.

What are some of the issues you should look for when deciding whether to provide training? And if you do decide to provide it, how do you decide they type and content for the training?