Monthly Archives: June 2014

Protect or Perpetrate


Bully or bystander. Is it the same thing?

In Lt General Morrison address at the June 2014 global summit to end sexual violence in conflict – made a bold and powerful statement – polarising debate – engaging people behind his call for an end to sexual violence and greater equality for women in military roles in times of conflict.

Every day at Risk to Business we work in businesses who find themselves ‘surprised’ by the behaviour of some of their employees. I am very glad that Morrison has spoken out – and it is relevant for all work places.

He showed insights and strong leadership to make his statement , particularly in face of recent allegations about inappropriate behaviour in the Australian Defence Force. Morrison has said “enough.Here is the report.

Morrison states that  “They (soldiers) either protect or perpetrate”.  In other words there is no middle ground. If you see bullying and do nothing about it then you too are a perpetrator. Ignoring someone in pain – turning a blind eye – not helping is condoning the behaviour of the perpetrator and makes the witness one too/

His comment is very relevant to my earlier blog about ‘Bullies & Bystanders

Morrison also said: “There are no bystanders — the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” And I wholeheartedly agree with him.

Do you agree? – Let me know your thoughts

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 3.45.24 pm

Rushing to the urgent; forgetting the important.

An open source opportunity


Recently I attended the AHRI in focus conferences and spoke about workplace bullying in Australia. It was an energising and insightful experience to share what I know from my career working in social justice.

Practitioners approached me lamenting what happens when something does go pear shaped in their workplace. Each story had a common theme, their day, their week disappeared when they got a phone call about a workplace complaint. Everything they were doing had to be dropped to focus on the urgent issue.

I found myself reflecting this frustration on rushing to urgent issues and not being able to work on the important strategic HR issues.

I asked myself ‘How can I support practitioners do their best work?’ So many things cascaded in my mind and too many to mention all at once here.

I then asked how can I share what I know – in a simple step that is ‘open source’ my expertise in the way the tech industry collaborates on ideas.

It has taken some time to put together but here is my open source audit tool – which covers all the basic areas needing to be considered in line with the current legislation.

If my ‘open source audit tool goes to plan it should result in my overworked HR peers having a deeper understanding of his or her ‘duty of care’ – and in so doing maybe minimizing the number of times that his or her day get’s hijacked by the urgent – rather than focusing on the important.

Please feel free to share it.

Open Source HR Risk Audit Tool







Effective Leadership Requires Hard Questions


If leaders are to be effective in reducing risk the answers to these questions will serve to focus them:

1. What would our organisation look like if we had a workplace culture that truly embraced the concepts of inclusion and equality of opportunity and where people felt truly safe and engaged?

2. How will I know when our workplace culture is a success?

3. Where are the gaps between where we are and where we need to be?

4. What behavioural risk can’t I see?

5. What part of our current culture do I actually own – what values do I reinforce through my own behaviour?

6. What do I need to give up to champion our preferred workplace culture?

7. Who can help us on the journey, to be the best we can be?

8. When people disagree with me do I respond in line with our values?

9. What gaps are there between the organisation’s stated values and the behaviours I observe?

10. How does my leadership positively influence others?

Sexual Harassment – Research Update

Stuart Training - Close Up 2013

Our Australian research revealed that the younger people are the greater the risk of sexual harassment. Sadly, 37% of people reporting sexual harassment felt that no-one cared and were told to ‘toughen up’ by their manager. Alarmingly 24% of cases reported that organisations either did nothing or made matters worse and 11% of people experiencing sexual harassment felt sad, alone, and contemplated suicide.

Here is one story of the hundreds we received during our work:

Leadership Required
“This takes place nearly every day. It ranges from men trying to put their hands down my top to trying to kiss me and ‘feel me up’. They make inappropriate advances to me and when I take it to my manager he just laughs. Generally there are people around when this happens but it gets worse when no-one is around. On employee came around to my house in the middle of the night, banging on my door and texting me. My manager is someone I thought I could go to but, nothing changes. I have to leave my job.”

And another:
“Whilst one of my female colleagues was bending over, a male colleague came up behind her and simulated sex”

Research Statistics
14% of people complained to their manager;
16% took legal action;
10% resigned;
23% took long term sick leave (more than 30 days);
12% reported bad behaviour toward them was copied by others;
30% of people did not report it;
people under 34 years of age are most at risk;

Industry Sector Statistics – The Top 5
Hospitality = 22% of sexual harassment reports;
Business & Finance = 16%;
Retail = 15%;
Transport = 14%;
Emergency Services = 12%;

State & Territory Statistics
Tasmania – 18%;
Queensland – 14%;
Western Australia – 13%;
New South Wales – 12%;
South Australia – 12%;
Victoria – 11%;
Northern Territory – 11%
Australian Capital Territory 7%