Human Resources is our only business  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Three Good Reasons for an Anti-Bullying Policy

I don't know if I've ever really been bullied. I can picture the quintessential bully: the big kid that pins the little kid against his locker, demanding his lunch money as ransom. And who can forget Farkus, the town bully in A Christmas Story? But bullying isn't relegated to the school lunchroom or playground. Heck, it's not confined to physical boundaries at all. You've heard of cyber bullying, right?

Most companies have policies and programs designed to prevent harassment and workplace violence. So how is bullying different? And why do you need a anti-bullying policy?

The basic difference between bullying and harassment is that harassment typically refers to repeated, hostile behaviors based on religion, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability or another legally protected status. With bullying, these behaviors aren't specific to individuals who fall into one of these categories. And whereas workplace violence refers to physical violence, bullying is typically non-physical. It's psychological. On the surface, it can appear subtle. It's consquences are anything but.

At minimum, an anti-bullying policy reinforces your code of ethics or code of conduct.

From a purely practical business perspective, there are at least three strong arguments for taking the time to implement an anti-bullying policy:

  1. Reduce employee turnover

  2. Improve productivity

  3. Mitigate the risk of litigation

According to research presented in The People Bottomline, victims of work place trauma can spend up to 52% of their time "defending themselves, and networking for support, thinking about the situation, being demotivated and stressed, let alone absences due to stress-related illnesses."

But aside from the return on investment for implementing a policy or program that lifts morale and productivity and keeps employees in the workplace instead of the courtroom, at the most basic level, it's the right thing to do.

Authored by Sandy Turba


Friday, April 8, 2011

Dollars and Sense: Cost of Living or Competitive Wage Increase?

The difference is really a question of philosophy. Unlike a lot of philosophy I’ve read over the years, this one is simple logic.

First, the basics:

Cost of living reflects the price of goods and services required to maintain an “average” level or standard of living. When companies provide a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), it is based on inflation from the Consumer Price Index (CPI). (Didn’t take a class in macroeconomics? No problem - check out the BLS for enough of a primer on the CPI to make you dangerous.)

Cost of labor reflects the wages paid to workers. (Doesn’t this sound much simpler? And don’t people want to be paid similarly to their peers?) In part, cost of living is cost of lifestyle. Clearly, there’s lots of room for variation. Competitive wages, however, are tied to the cost of labor – which logically will include relevant cost of living considerations based on the labor market.

I’m no fan of the cost of living increase as a pay strategy. Here’s why:

  1. The CPI, and hence, the cost of living, fluctuates. But you don’t see companies taking money away from employees when it drops. I’m not advocating that they should, but adjustments to pay based solely on cost of living are expensive over time. Worst case scenario is that wages are frozen, and that does little to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

  2. Providing across-the-board COL increases to all job holders devalues the market and internal worth of various jobs, individual contributions and performance. It can also exacerbate pay inequities. That’s why you’re annoyed when you’ve worked your back end off all year only to receive the same increase as your slacker co-worker three cubes over.

  3. Coupling COL adjustments with longevity pay inevitably results in wages that far exceed the market and ultimately becomes cost prohibitive. But the employees love them – and so they rarely leave! (That’s not always a good thing.)

Sure, we can easily compute the future value of a bad compensation decision in dollars and cents. It’s a little more difficult to quantify the loss of key employees who aren’t paid competitively or the decline in productivity due to lack of employee engagement. Those costs, I’m afraid, are very real.

Authored by Sandy Turba

Labels: ,

  Questions Comments or Suggestions?
The Human Resource Department® is a registered service mark of The Human Resource Department, Inc.
  Powered by Dynamics Online