Sexual Assault Awareness Month is April: Stay Informed, Stay Vigilant and Take Action to Combat Sexual Assault

The momentum of movements like Me Too and Time’s Up is causing society to make a major shift in how we discuss and react to sexual violence, as well as how sexual assaults are identified, reported, and prevented. And there is no time is better to lead and participate in these discussions than now, since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a time when survivors and advocacy groups work to raise awareness surrounding the pervasive issue of sexual violence.

And the prevalence of sexual assault can be shocking.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC):

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
  • 90% of college sexual assault victims don’t report the assault.
  • Rape is the most underreported crime: 63% of cases are never reported to police.

These statistics make it clear that sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Moreover, in addition to immediate costs such as medical expenses and missed wages, sexual assault can have devastating long-term impacts like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

What’s not as clear, as evidenced by a growing body of research, is how victims can safely reach out to report incidents and ask for help. Anecdotal and peer-reviewed research both confirm that victims of sexual assault, rape, or sexual abuse almost unanimously report that it is often confusing to know where to turn to report an incident — and it’s always intimidating.

Statistics and surveys are also showing that while the #MeToo movement may be encouraging more victims feel to come forward, victims and witnesses are not reporting these attacks using traditional methods. Survivors have given the following reasons for not reporting a sexual assault:

  • Fear of retaliation
  • Scared of hostile treatment by the authorities
  • Uncertain that authorities would consider the incident serious enough
  • Did not want family or friends to know about it
  • Didn’t know how to report the incident

Workplaces and schools can take a modern approach to protecting their people and their reputation by utilizing smartphone apps like STOPit as a 21st century solution. These tools are designed to create a safe space for students and employees to report incidents freely—and without fear. The hope is that by making it simple and anonymous, people will be encouraged to report, which allows for real-time, positive intervention for the victim as well as the additional benefit of helping to quickly identify repeat offenders.

Learn More About How STOPit Can Empower People to be Courageous When Confronting Sexual Assault

It’s encouraging to recognize that safe, anonymous reporting tools and improvements in organizational cultures are bolstering the courage of bystanders — giving them the confidence to get involved in protecting their co-workers by providing corroborating evidence in support of a friend’s, classmate’s or co-worker’s report. In a problem this serious, we celebrate every step forward.

“I Ask” for “Awareness to Action”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, has adopted “I Ask” as their theme for this year’s SAAM. The campaign, “champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.” Words and actions shape our world and culture: raising awareness of how often sexual violence happens; talking about consent; sharing safety, prevention, and reporting strategies; and learning helpful and compassionate ways to talk to survivors are the goals of SAAM.

The good news is that individuals, communities, and companies are already taking important steps to successfully combat the risk of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse through conversations, programs, policies, and tools that promote safety, respect, and equality. Marriott has received a lot of recent, positive press for its corporate commitment to stamping out human trafficking in the hospitality industry.

Campaigns like #MeTooK12 and RAAIN’S Awareness to Action, provide everything from statistics to help define the problem and put it in context, to practical tools like scripts for how to hold a conversation with friends, family and community about sexual violence. They even provide ready-to-go graphics and campaign hashtags to help promote the conversation on social media platforms.

Encouraging as these campaigns are, however, we need to stay committed to working for real, lasting solutions to sexual violence in our workplaces, schools and communities. Recent news stories like the one that exposed rampant corruption —  including cheating and bribery — in the college admissions scandal, make it easier for us to allow the seriousness of this issue fade into the background and threaten to drown out emerging conversations that are calling for action — like those that are happening right now in higher education.

In fact, sexual misconduct is the most frequently reported and managed incident type on the STOPit app for Higher Education customers. Cases brought against campuses, including William Paterson University, and Ivy League schools such as Yale University where three students have filed a class-action lawsuit, arguing that the university has enabled a fraternity culture of harassment, remind us to remain engaged and vigilant — even as we celebrate progress towards the goal of making sexual harassment and victimization, rare.

Let’s Do More All Year Long to Combat Sexual Assault.

What else can be done to help? Individuals can show support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, correct harmful misconceptions, and promote everyday consent.

Though it is certainly a good thing that SAAM gives us an opportunity to come together as a community to learn more and do more, one month isn’t enough to solve the widespread issue of sexual violence. However we can use the attention SAAM generates as an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

The NSVRC is calling on supporters to wear teal on April 2, their “Day of Action,” as a way to spread awareness and show solidarity with survivors.

For more ideas and opportunities to get involved all month long, visit these organizations online:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

RAAIN

NO MORE

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Each voice is powerful and necessary in preventing sexual violence, misconduct, and abuse. SAAM is a powerful a reminder that we can change the world through the things we say and do each day.

For more information about STOPit and how organizations are using the anonymous reporting app to encourage healthier, safer communities, workplaces and schools, call one of our safety solutions experts, today.

It’s Not the Beer: Company Culture That Really Attracts and Retains Millennial Employees

You might think that your employees and the candidates you’re hoping to attract want a company culture that’s fun and free. Xbox in the lounge!

But what they really want is to feel safe and supported.

Your employees and future candidates look to your company culture and values as a reflection of how they will and should be treated. Understanding how your company is viewed by employees, both current and prospective, can help you then understand the type of talent you attract and keep. In honor of Employee Appreciation Day, March 1, take a couple of minutes to think about how your company’s culture, values, and perks align, and what impact that has on your bottom line.

Perks aren’t just fun and games: team lunches and beer tastings have their place, but there are benefits that have more meaning and reflect the culture you want to embrace. If being direct is an important value at your company, encouraging feedback and rewarding transparency will help reinforce that part of your culture. And gathering information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit can help facilitate the process of reporting behavior and function as a premium perk that helps companies address behavior proactively.

Assess Your Current Culture — And React

And according to a survey by Deloitte, company culture is the second most important priority, behind pay, for millenials when they are considering a role at a company. The same survey also says 60 percent of millennials are predicted to leave their current company by 2020. What you do now in regards to workplace culture can impact if or how that projection effects your organization.

As workplace culture is obviously important to attracting and retaining talented employees, particularly millennials, addressing the issues behind these statistics could mean the difference between your company thriving or failing. And the difference between keeping a great staff or losing them due to toxic behaviors that senior management is either enabling or unaware of.

More and more business leaders are taking steps to assess their current culture, identifying areas for improvement, gathering information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit, and training employees on what is and is not acceptable workplace behavior. Clearly articulating your core values, fostering open communication, offering robust onboarding and mentoring programs, and modeling best behaviors can help align every member of your team around a shared and thriving set of expectations.

Workers Are Tuned in to Incidents Of Discrimination

A study by the Institute for Public Relations and leading global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick says that nearly 60 percent of all employed Americans report that they have seen or heard about some form of discrimination at their workplace, and millennials are more likely to be attuned to these issues.

“It has long been understood that diversity and inclusion initiatives are essential for business success but also for career choices being made by millennials,” said IPR Trustee and Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist Leslie Gaines-Ross in a press release.

Unfortunately, even with the best training, decision making, and leadership, discrimination and harassment can still occur. Educating and empowering your employees to utilize reporting methods to share (without fear) any issues they see at work can help senior staff address potential issues before they become major problems.

Get Ahead Of These Issues (Or Face Unnecessary Risks)

To help prevent workplace harassment and discrimination, companies need to create environments where employees feel comfortable anonymously reporting incidents, and develop  an effective process to hold workers accountable.

STOPit offers completely anonymous reporting via a mobile app. With an interface like texting the app is easy for employees to use discreetly while on the job to report harassment, discrimination, favoritism, fraud, and other issues. Back end incident management systems help employers directly follow up with employees anonymously to gather more information, while ensuring secure evidence collection and compliance. STOPit can also automate a company’s current processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations.

“A company who wants to maximize results takes the results of reporting and assessment and then connects management and employees with education content rooted in proven, actionable solutions,” said Roger Duffield, President of in2vate, a risk management program.

To learn more about how workplaces are integrating data and anonymous reporting to satisfy compliance requirements and improve company culture, click here.

And although the right data and tools are important to success, continued improvement is just as dependent on continued learning and continued implementation. A thriving company culture, the kind that millennials seek out and stay at, are found at organizations that actively gather feedback and then act on what they learn. And when the right values are being upheld and the right behaviors are in place, it’s still important to continue monitoring issues like pending investigations and recently filed complaints, to help proactively spot and address cultural risks and vulnerabilities.

Call STOPit today to learn more about how companies are using mobile technology to protect their corporate cultures.

Women In Tech: Fixing The ‘Leaky Pipeline’

Gender diversity is a necessity for business success, but the “leaky pipeline,” where women disappear from career and leadership trajectories at all stages of their career, still impacts women in corporate settings of all sizes.

A report from the Kapor Center gives tech companies a how-to guide on repairing that “leaky pipeline.” Even though the gender gap is widely discussed, women continue to leave or get left behind at every step of their career—from entry level positions to management roles. The report identified some of the underlying reasons women have issues in tech companies, including:

  • Biases in recruiting and hiring
  • Limited access to social networks dominated by men
  • A toxic workplace culture, harassment, inequitable pay, bias in promotion-that cause a decrease in job satisfaction and high turnover

“We have a problem, and we need to work together to solve it,” Freada Kapor Klein, a partner with Kapor Capital and founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, said to USA Today.

While the tech sector channels their innovative thinking into interventions that work, on-the-job training about appropriate workplace behavior and anonymous reporting opportunities like the STOPit app can be an immediate help to reduce the number of women who quit a job due to suffering through a toxic culture.

The High Cost of A Toxic Work Culture

Turnover isn’t just expensive, it hurts morale and can take away much needed expertise and invaluable institutional knowledge. There are more serious costs for businesses too: low morale and high employee turnover can damage a company’s reputation and threaten its future success.

Business leaders, from small startups to gigantic corporations, need to develop and lead an inclusive and supportive culture to retain high-performing employees. Tammy Perkins left a series of leadership roles at Amazon and Microsoft to become Chief People Officer and Managing Partner of Fjuri, a cutting-edge marketing startup.

“One of the most difficult parts of starting a new company is focusing on growth, while taking time to create the team structure you need to support that growth,” said Perkins in an interview with INC.

Every company has a culture that is constantly evolving and changing. Culture is not something you have, it is something you do.

Improve results for recruitment and retention. Limit liability. Learn more.

“Intertwined with the way you work as a team is your culture—and great cultures start with a foundation of empowerment, engagement and accountability,” said Perkins.

Tech Solutions for Tech Problems

Not every startup can boast the same degree of work-culture integrity as Fjuri. Tech startups have had a reputation for having a “bro” culture where women experience pay inequality, sexual harassment, and a discriminatory work environment. That does seem to be changing, however. The ability for leadership to be nimble and pivot, qualities that are integral to a successful startup, have also allowed many tech companies — big and small — to change their culture and offer women a place to thrive.

And now is the time for every company to conduct a frank self-assessment of their culture and make that change: A report from Gallup found that nearly half of female employees say they are actively looking for a different job or watching for new opportunities.

In a recent study, 70% of women surveyed by Forbes said they felt that the #MeToo movement had no impact on their workplace. So while equal pay, satisfying working conditions, investment in your health, and a large percentage of women at every management level may help identify companies that are good employers for women, there is still work to be done.

“I have been working on diversity in tech for many decades. It’s sobering to see the lack of progress,” said Kapor Klein.

The Bottom Line

Companies can improve the working conditions for their female employees by creating a better and more accountable culture, establishing training programs covering appropriate workplace behavior, and offering anonymous reporting opportunities like the STOPit mobile app, a simple, fast and powerful tool that empowers individuals to protect themselves and others.

Call STOPit today to learn how companies of all sizes are using STOPit’s mobile technology solution to promote and protect their corporate cultures.

How Workplaces Are Integrating Data and Anonymous Reporting To Satisfy Compliance Requirements and Improve Company Culture

Time will tell, but employers may look back at 2018 as the year we finally got honest about the impact of harassment and intimidation in the workplace. Using social media as a megaphone, professionals from Hollywood to Main Street proclaimed “no more” to misconduct that had long been pervasive in every industry and nearly every office building. Norms for what’s considered acceptable behavior have evolved, and employers are looking forward to take better advantage of tools that educate their staff, empowering them to address issues before they become problems. Companies that don’t are taking unnecessary risks.

And while there’s been no shortage of headlines about events of the past in the #MeToo era, Roger Duffield, President of in2vate, believes the vast majority of executives want to put protections in place for the future of their corporations. They just don’t always know how.

“I don’t think the right information is getting to decision makers,” Duffield said. “They’re ready to take positive steps, but they don’t have the right data. If they can see what they need to do, they’ll do it.”

The Solution: Introducing Enterprise Risk Technology

More and more business leaders are taking those positive steps with the deployment of enterprise risk technology, software that can help companies assess their current culture, identify areas for improvement, gather information from employees with anonymous reporting apps like STOPit, implement best practices for conforming with regulations, and train employees on timely topics.

In2vate was one of the first providers of valuable services and it’s leveraged its experience and integration with STOPit to create a customizable and scalable software package that is particularly effective for businesses with distinct corporate cultures.

“Companies need a risk-management solution that over-delivers on their need for information and plugs them into easy to implement, cost effective solutions,” said Duffield.

The effectiveness of enterprise risk technology was proven recently when an in2vate customer, an insurer with over 200 government clients in its pool, needed to perform an audit on all of their policies and handbooks and identify documents and forms in need of an immediate update as well as urgent training needs.

In2vate developed a 30-question survey and a simple interface that allowed the agencies to upload their documents and collect specific, actionable information for each organization. Within 45 days, they had nearly 90 percent participation — highly unusual for large-scale assessment projects — and all the information necessary to match every one of the participants with tools and resources they needed to accomplish all their compliance and organizational management goals.

“We were amazed at the level of disclosure that the clients provided,” Duffield said. “It would have taken them years to collect the data with any other method.”

Powering Up Data with Anonymous Reporting

When it comes to data collection for risk assessment, companies are recommending anonymous reporting as another opportunity to collect valuable data.

Now offering an anonymous reporting option to employees, organizations and partners like In2vate are taking proactive steps to ensure better compliance with legal obligations and, as importantly, encouraging employees to feel safe and empowered to report malfeasance and harassment. Anonymous reporting services are highly effective for getting real-time, first-person information about workplace warning signals as well as threats, helping managers identify and address workplace problems before they take root and ultimately preserving an office’s positive atmosphere.

STOPit Solutions is in2vate’s provider of choice in anonymous reporting and incident management. STOPit’s reporting and investigation tools are a natural fit with in2vate’s philosophy of reporting, investigating and taking action. “STOPit and in2vate help deliver critical data into the hands of decision makers so they can implement necessary changes,” Duffield said. “Organizations can take advantage of enterprise risk technology to help identify red flags and address them early, and STOPit can help with that.”

The More You Know

Duffield is quick to point out to clients that though the right data and the right tools to collect that information are vital, “Continuous improvement depends on continuous learning. A company who wants to maximize results takes the results of reporting and assessment and then connects management and employees with education content rooted in proven, actionable solutions.”

For instance, in2vate offers its clients some of its industry-specific and legal content through weekly bulletins covering topics ranging from sexual harassment and discrimination to what goes in a personnel file. It’s a cost-effective means for ensuring first-line managers and supervisors are up to speed on critical workplace issues.

They also offer comprehensive training content that’s delivered online. All modules are developed using established, best-practices, like TRAC (Teamwork • Respect • Awareness • Communication) – is a multi-purpose workplace module for all employees that reinforces efforts to prevent workplace wrongdoing and makes employees aware of issues important to organizations, such as tolerance and diversity. Sensitivity Basics is another highly utilized module about what sensitivity is and what it is not. Topics include sexual insensitivity, stereotyping, and faith in the workplace. The company also curates an easy-to-search Legal Synopsis library with hundreds of articles covering a wide range of topics.

Thanks to its partnership with STOPit, in2vate provides its knowledge content for STOPit’s Resource Center, an online library for STOPit clients that helps organization administrators address issues efficiently and effectively based on best practices and professionally researched content. So far, in2vate has provided over 1,000 articles to assist administrators via the library of STOPit Premium Resources. Customers from enterprises through public school districts get enormous value out of being able to address employee and student concerns with the help of this content, all from within the STOPit Admin console.

Call STOPit today to learn more about how companies are using mobile technology to promote and protect their corporate cultures.

It’s Holiday Party Time at the Office, and Rudolph Isn’t Taking Any More Nonsense at the Reindeer Games

The holidays are here. Peace and goodwill are pushed pretty heavily during a retail season that screams for our attention, but these sensibilities should be important to us year-round at work and home.

While holiday bonuses and home-baked cookies can go a long way in spreading the holiday cheer at work, an anonymous reporting system is a gift that can simplify employee communications and help make the office a better place.

After all, ’tis the season for bad behavior at office parties. Or worse, the parties after the office parties.

Naughty or Nice?

The holidays give co-workers a chance to let their guard down and spend time together in a purely social atmosphere. Relaxing around the table with drinks, they talk about things and show sides of themselves that they normally wouldn’t with colleagues – for better or worse.

Sometimes the situation gets out of hand. A manager makes an inappropriate sexual advance toward a subordinate. A blowup breaks out between colleagues who don’t get along. Someone uses or offers a co-worker illegal drugs.

Other times it’s less blatant. An insensitive — even if not mal-intended — gesture like a forced hug, off-color joke, political rant, a remark about someone’s appearance, or pressuring someone to drink more can be taken with great offense.

Come Monday morning, it’ll fall to the company HR professionals to sort through the conflicting and sometimes exaggerated versions of a story and an attempt to render fair consequences, often leaving no one satisfied and all feeling victimized. For an employer getting wind of these incidents, the headaches are such that it may be tempting to drop them — after all, oftentimes these parties are held outside of the office and after hours.

But that could be a costly mistake.

The bad feelings from these conflicts can become corrosive to office morale, leading to low productivity and turnover. Reputations hang in the balance as rumors spread and mutate with each retelling.

“With today’s millennials, if they don’t like their work environment, they will leave and find another job,” said Neil Hooper, Chief Revenue Officer for STOPit Solutions. “Employment rates are high and so are turnover rates. It’s important to create the kind of environment that allows you to keep your employees, and quite frankly, enables you to get rid of the toxic employees.”

An anonymous reporting system for workplace issues can help achieve that by encouraging bystanders to become Upstanders with smart tech solutions delivered right into their hands.

Most of the time workers want to do the right thing and share information that can alert management to problems in the office or clear the name of a co-worker who’s being unfairly maligned. However, they don’t always feel comfortable getting involved. The STOPit app gives everyone a safe way to be courageous – to protect their colleagues’ reputations with the facts, and without any fear of reprisal.

And when facts and context are important to resolving issues — which is always — anonymous reporting is a valuable asset for company compliance officers and human resource administrators, too. Often tasked with the responsibility for creating and promoting this more ideal workplace, administrators appreciate having better access to information sources who can help them sort out facts from intentional or unintentional hyperbole as they consider the appropriate, fair, and timely response to incidents.

It can be particularly helpful in industries like retail and restaurants that see a seasonal spike in business and handle it by pushing employees to work longer hours and adding temporary staff — all serving increasingly stressed and anxious customers. When you mix the ultra-busy pace of work with an influx of new and unfamiliar personalities, and add in consumer angst, the result can be a tense environment that ignites conflicts between workers. Particularly for businesses with multiple locations or with a workforce that communicates primarily through their mobile phones, communication can be especially challenging, and apps like STOPit empower everyone with one, seamless, easy to administer reporting solution.

Baking in the Holiday Blues

It is also well known that the holidays are a time when personal stress and depression levels spike. Everyone is especially vulnerable this time of year, making it even more important to have a communications outlet like STOPit on standby in the workplace.

An American Psychological Association survey exploring the causes of holiday stress found that 67 percent of respondents saw lack of time as a major factor, 62 percent cited lack of money, 47 percent the pressure of giving/getting gifts, and 35 percent the fear of raising their credit card debts. A worker who is feeling the strain from any of those things could at least partially hold their employers or their co-workers to blame. If they’re harboring hard feelings toward their job, an office party could be combustible.

“It’s a common sitcom scenario where a young employee drinks too much and they finally say what they mean to their boss,” Hooper said. “That’s funny in a sitcom, maybe not so funny in real life. Sometimes employees are crying out and they need to chance to share what’s really going on in the workplace.”

With all of that said, there is no better time than the holidays for employers to think and act positively and start setting goals for the future. For as much as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are opportunities for reflection and celebrating the year’s accomplishments, the final holiday season of the year is all about looking ahead.

“I think a great New Year’s resolution is to have 2019 be the year that we finally put a stop to bad behavior in the workplace,” Hooper said.

To learn more about how Human Resource professionals are using STOPit to improve company culture and make incident reporting and management easier, call and schedule your demo.

Nurses Caring for Communities And Being Physically Assaulted, Harassed and Bullied In Return

“Nurses need strong coping mechanisms, and as many resources as possible to handle the extremely delicate and stressful situations that they face daily. Lateral violence and workplace bullying are commonplace, and it’s not just fellow nurses who are responsible for incivility. Every member of the healthcare team – including patients, families, and doctors – can be both a target or a perpetrator. In the world of health care, the human condition is unpredictable and emotionally charged.”
~ Dr. Seun Ross, the Director of Nursing Practice and Work Environment at the American Nurses Association (representing over 3 million nurses), stated in an interview with NBC News.

In May of this year, 160 ER nurses travelled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for legislation promoting a safe workplace for health care employees. When the audience was asked: “who has ever been the victim of violence in their hospital?”, nearly every hand in the room went up.

Studies conducted by nursing associations have found that most nurses are regularly victims of bullying, harassment, racism, degradation, intimidation, unwanted sexual advances, and even violence on the job. In one study, over fifty percent of ER nurses reported experiencing violence at work within only the first seven days of their participation in the study. To make matters worse, nearly half (46.7%) of those who report incidents of any kind to their supervisor failed to receive support; and many got either no response or were asked to keep quiet.

No person should have to endure harassment or fear for their personal safety when doing their job, even nurses who expect to do hard physical work and interact with customers and co-workers in sometimes uncomfortable, intimate personal ways. And yet, obviously it happens, and with alarming frequency.

Helpers Need Help

A nurse who has been on the job for 57 years was asked if she had ever heard of a situation where a whistleblower was taken seriously and the perpetrator held accountable. She could only recall one incident – where an administrator was a known sexual predator and he was finally demoted from department head to a lower position where women were no longer required to report to him. However, he did not lose his title, seniority or salary status.

“There’s a culture of bullying and intimidation in nursing, especially for new nurses, which is why so many quit within the first five years. There is a lot of “hazing” that goes on, which I guess is meant to weed out the weak; toughen people up – but instead it creates an environment of hostility and mistrust. Bullying becomes normalized, and accepted as just one of the hazards of the job. Over time, the cumulative stress causes severe depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, absenteeism, patient neglect, apathy, alcoholism, drug use, smoking, and other unhealthy habits designed to numb the pain and frustration. Rates of suicide, divorce, and burnout are very high. Staff turnover is constant; nurses always quitting or getting fired. After many bad early experiences I’m finally at a good facility now where they encourage teamwork, pair up nurses that work well together, and foster a workplace that is safe, professional, and diverse.”
~F.V., BSN at a NJ Nursing Home and Hospice Center for 8+ years.

Hidden Costs in Healthcare: More Than Just Money

In an organization that promotes health and healing, burnout and high turnover is a liability that impacts everyone from the CEO to the patient waiting to be admitted.

The Joint Commission revealed in 2014 that …71% of physicians and nurses linked incivility to medical error, and 99% of physicians (out of 800) believed bad behavior negatively impacted patient care. This means that in addition to the toll harassment and bullying takes on nursing staff, patient care is also impacted — and ultimately, increases hospital liability.

“Healthcare is getting more and more complex. Increasing demands, decreasing resources, burn out and bullying are huge contributing factors to how employees show up every day. Public criticisms, threatening or intimidating comments, blaming, sabotage, nurse bullying and incivility, and workplace violence are all impacting patient care.”
~ Renee Thompson, DNP, RN, CMSRN, CSP; Founder of The Healthy Workforce Institute; and the leading authority on creating a healthy workforce culture by eradicating nurse bullying, workplace bullying, and incivility.

Unfortunately, bullying, discrimination, harassment and violence cannot be prevented from occurring, but nursing staff can be armed with tools to empower themselves, and also to create workplace environments where they feel supported and safe to report incidents that impact their own lives, that of their coworkers and their patients. Some attempts to address the situation that hospitals have implemented, like complaint drop boxes and 1-800 tip lines. But, they are often perceived by nursing staff as too risky as they’re not genuinely anonymous, or worse yet – “just for show”, with little or no follow up.

Fortunately, with the advent of tools like STOPit, empowering staff to report dangerous behavior is easy. It’s easy to implement safe, confidential reporting and it’s easy to administer. STOPit’s best-in-class incident management system is straightforward and logical. In less than an hour, assigned staff can be up and running on STOPit Admin, with an intuitive, customizable dashboard and user experience that makes incident management and reporting extremely manageable in the context of an already high-pressure work environment.

With the knowledge that an employer is taking the reports seriously and actively using an anonymous tool such as the STOPIt app, nursing staff can feel empowered to safely report incidents, and hospital administration can follow up in a way that is best suited for their needs and culture.

Better outcomes for staff. Better outcomes for patients. Just better.

Call today to speak with a STOPit app consultant and see if an anonymous reporting solution is right for your healthcare workplace.

Human Resource Departments Have An Important New Team Member to Help Stop Workplace Harassment, and It’s an App

New hire orientation — and all the forms and paperwork that comes with it; leave of absence forms; workers comp reports; health benefit changes; annual reviews. Human resources staffs and budgets are already stretched thin under tremendous pressure to handle more tasks, more projects and find more solutions than ever.

And there are always updates to policies and procedures. Add in new regulations, like the one just passed by the State of New York requiring employers to adopt new policies, conduct additional trainings and submit new reports to address sexual harassment in the workplace, and the administrative burden on HR just continues to increase every year.

Great Tech Helps Solve Problems

Whether these laws are good isn’t at issue. Most often, these laws and policies address very real problems that should be addressed. The New York law aimed at making workplaces safer and more equitable by stamping out sexual harassment is a good thing. Everyone should feel safe and valued, even protected, as they’re going about their daily work. That’s why more and more states are adopting similar laws with similar goals.

What is at issue is how companies can do the right thing–the best thing for their employees and their company — and find a way to do it that doesn’t stretch the HR department to the breaking point.

The HR department is often tasked with helping build healthy workplace culture. How can it meet and exceed this mission if staff are feeling overburdened and overwhelmed?

Fortunately, though many decry over-reliance on technology as a potential hazard, in this case technology done well can the the best solution to doing the right thing without overwhelming any person or department.

An anonymous reporting technology like STOPit, one that gives employees the power to speak up and ask for help with issues like sexual harassment without any fear of reprisal, is one example of technology done well. More and more companies are taking a proactive approach to empowering employees in the workplace so they can be more productive, safer and happier — and mobile app technologies are quickly becoming a solution of choice to power opportunities and solve problems.

Meeting and Exceeding Goals For Safer Workplaces

But while it’s commonplace to ask employees to download and use an app that tracks their steps in order to qualify for lower health insurance premiums, or a texting app to better communicate with team members at remote locations, until recently there hasn’t been a great choice when it comes to an app for reporting incidents of harassment, abuse and malfeasance. Traditional texting and email are straightforward communication tools for many issues, but they aren’t efficient at managing HR cases, particularly those of a sensitive nature that require anonymity and confidentiality. A new direct communication platform is needed to ensure proper and complete documentation and reporting for managing incidents that might involve disciplinary action or legal remedy.

Apps like STOPit are solving those problems.

STOPit is a two-way communications street that can lead to breakthroughs in the search for facts in troubling cases, and encourage people to stand up for themselves and for their colleagues in difficult, dangerous and unfair situations. It’s a simple, straightforward solution, combining an intuitive, easy to use interface for the anonymous reporting app with a powerful, equally intuitive incident management system that take only minutes to set up.

The entire solution requires very little training to learn to use and is packed with snapshot reports and a dashboard that makes administrative tasks simple. The system keeps a permanent record of incidents and tracks what actions were taken and when, making reporting for compliance and legal audiences a five minute task — not a chore that eats up an entire afternoon.

And, just as important, best-in-class customer service ensures that questions and requests for help are answered promptly by a dedicated representative that is focused on client success. All this ensures your HR department has the right tool tool to engage employees in building healthier, safer workplaces and also comply with ever evolving laws and policies to combat workplace harassment — a tool that’s effective, cost-effective and one that is a true time-saver for administrators.

Contact STOPit today to learn more about how you can empower your HR department and build a better, more productive workplace.

Your Toxic Employee is Costing You More Than Our Anonymous Reporting App

If one bad apple spoils a whole bunch, then what about one toxic employee?

Most of us know the answer all too well. Toxic employees come in many forms. There are yellers, liars, blamers and system gamers. There are intimidators, loafers, battlers and tattlers.

Any one of these or a hundred other negative personalities can cause a feeling of dread every time you pull into the parking lot. Toxic employees spawn toxic work environments, and what happens during those eight hours a day can hinder people’s happiness and opinion of their employer. It can also impact a company’s bottom line.

According to a 2015 study by the workforce recruiting and training firm Cornerstone OnDemand, good employees are 54 percent more likely to quit when they work with a toxic employee, even if there’s only one of them on a team of 20. The report also concluded that each toxic worker costs a company approximately $12,800 in replacement costs — training the new person, conducting searches and interviews, etc. – to say nothing of the hit to a company’s reputation and the resulting difficulties attracting top talent that follow high turnover.

What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt – Everyone.

Toxic cultures can take root without management knowing a word about it, until the exit interviews start piling up. Part of the reason is that good workers will often try to ride it out for a while rather than talk to anyone about it. They are scared to make a bad situation worse while not even seeing the situation solved, and then their only comments will be their resignation. When in a toxic workplace these good employees often ‘vote with their feet’.

According to a national survey of over 1,000 full-time employees by the conflict resolution firm Fierce, 53 percent of respondents said they handle toxic employees by trying to ignore them, while just under a quarter confront them directly. Only 18 percent said they complain to management. Forty-one percent said that even if they did tell their higher-ups, they don’t believe anything would be done to address the situation.

Whether these responses are driven by personal experiences or conversations picked up at the water cooler, the fear is real — and may not be entirely wrong. Some toxic employees have a talent for positioning themselves to avoid notice or repercussions from management, among them:

  • The Manager’s Buddy: Skilled in the arts of office politics, no one suspects they have it in them to make their colleagues miserable.
  • The High Achievers: When your sales numbers are the best on the staff, people are less inclined to look for your downsides.
  • The Veterans: After working in the office for 23 years, people get accustomed to looking the other way for their “quirks.”
  • Jekyll & Hydes: Experts at flying under the radar, they become totally different people around those who can make life difficult for them.

You Gave Them A Role. Now Give Them A Voice.

“Company leaders need to ensure that all employees are empowered with the tools to address these toxic individuals in a productive and ultimately successful way,” said Stacey Engle, executive vice president at Fierce, Inc.

Perhaps most important among those tools is a voice. The survey numbers bear out what many of us who have been in the position understand – that complaining to management seems too risky to go through with. The fears are real: too many employees fear being at the mercy of a human resource worker or administrator who could approach their complaint with disinterest, accept the toxic co-worker’s version of events, or worse, tell this person what you said, make no attempt to resolve it and leave you to co-exist in an office that’s more tense than before.

An anonymous reporting system like STOPit can help build trust, foster a healthier workplace culture and help solve these problems. Reports submitted through STOPit are 100 percent anonymous – there is no way for the employer to know who they are talking to. With the safe distance the arrangement provides, employees can share information, gauge the company’s initial response and grow comfortable enough to come forward and state their concerns on the record.

Prove It: Without Action, Words and Policies Aren’t Enough

For a company’s leadership, giving employees a voice and a safe way to reach out for help is more important than ever as the competition to attract and retain top talent is only increasing. Companies who aspire to rise to the top in their industry — and stay there — know that the culture they create and promote for employees matters as much, and oftentimes more, than the highest salary offer or a ping-pong table in the break room when coveted talent considers taking their offer and investing their talent long-term.

For 20 years, Fortune has compiled the list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, and in 20 years, the criteria remained unchanged.

Not so moving forward. This year Fortune announced it is updating its criteria, giving much more weight to employees’ perception of fairness, corporate ethics and inclusiveness,

“Central to our new approach is Maximizing Human Potential: we now assess how well companies create a consistently positive experience for all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization. We did this to reflect the reality of the world today, and to recognize and learn from the inclusive organizations that are setting the pace. Not just for moral reasons, but for business reasons. Our most recent research shows companies that rate most highly according to our new “For All” standard grow revenue three times faster than their less-inclusive rivals. In other words, while trust fuels business performance at great workplaces, “For All” accelerates it.” Michael Bush and Sarah Lewis-Kulin

The right anonymous reporting can offer an honest picture of what’s going on in the office and allow leadership to intervene early on when problem employees begin affecting their co-workers and pushing down the bottom-line. Anonymous reporting can provide a direct line from workers at any level of the company to its decision makers – a way around those who a good worker may feel too worried to approach.

Compared to the deep cost of letting a toxic employee poison your office culture and piling up the hours spent filling the vacancies of your top employees, choosing an anonymous reporting solution that is easy to implement and use is a smart, economical business decision.

Contact STOPit today to learn how anonymous reporting can help build and support a healthier, more productive office culture for your company.

How Companies Are Empowering Employees to Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment One Year After Launch of #MeToo Movement

#MeToo could very easily be you too. As in, the people who work for you. The office you go to each day.

A recent study found that nearly one in three Americans claim to have been sexually harassed at work, including an estimated 45 percent of women. With odds like those, there’s probably someone in your workplace who’s been through it, is struggling with it now, or will be soon.

For too long, workplace sexual harassment has been underreported and, all too often, shrugged off as ‘no big deal’. But now, in the streets, in the courts and in the court of public opinion, people are standing up and proclaiming enough’s enough. If the recent impact of #MeToo is to have lasting importance, history must prove that the movement was a critical tipping point in our national (and perhaps global) culture, which for too long turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the pervasive problems of sexual discrimination and harassment in our workplaces.

Fix the Problem Not the Blame

A common focus in the #MeToo stories has been the way that employers have addressed (or not) their employees’ pleas for help. And too often, the picture painted in the media hasn’t been flattering to corporate culture at large. The message is that sexual harassment in the workplace is a big problem and complaints are too often ignored or mishandled.

And though it’s easy to point the finger at businesses for not doing enough, we know that HR departments are tasked with enormous responsibility and often operate with very lean staffing, struggling to stay ahead of the daily avalanche of emails from employees and administration asking for information and action on complex personnel situations. To add to this burden is the ever more burdensome requirements for compliance and reporting.

This fact of life in today’s corporate landscape makes for surging stress as companies struggle to find solutions to urgent problems that are actually effective, solutions that make it easier to resolve a problem situation than it is to ignore it.

The Good News

The good news is that more and more companies are making sure that this turn in the moral compass, marked by increased awareness and calls for change inspired by the #MeToo movement, isn’t just an optimistic blip on history’s radar. These companies are taking decisive, deliberate action to empower employees to help fight sexual harassment in all of its forms.

They are taking hard looks at the effectiveness of their longstanding methods for handling problems and complaints and asking whether there are better ways. And in many cases, they’re concluding online, anonymous methods can be an important part of the solution.

They are looking at anonymous reporting solutions like STOPit.

Anonymity Encourages First Steps and Accountability

While the number of workers who’ve faced sexual discrimination and harassment is high, the vast majority keep it to themselves. Nearly three-quarters of women and 81 percent of men who say they have been sexually harassed at work did not report it.

In a recent article published in Human Resource Executive, Neil Hooper, chief revenue officer for STOPit Solutions offers perspective on why the company’s mobile app is a successful problem-solver for companies that are serious about establishing a ‘no tolerance’ culture regarding sexual harassment. According to Hooper, people are more likely to report incidents of harassment they have experienced or witnessed “in the moment”. The longer people wait to report, he says, the more likely they are to look back and second-guess what happened.

“If they go home and think about it, they start to wonder whether they interpreted the situation wrong. As time passes, they lose their courage to step up,” says Hooper. “Technology provides the ability for a very quick, convenient, natural method of recording that something wrong is going on, to capture the moment immediately after it happens.”

The true anonymity provided by mobile, cloud-based reporting solutions, opens doors. STOPit corporate customers report that there’s a ‘feeling out’ process that typically unfolds in the first few weeks after STOPit debuts, as users learn more about the app and explore the resource. Sometimes it’s through word of mouth and other times it’s the result of a few interactions with the administrator, but users quickly learn that there is a real person who cares on the other end of the text thread and grow comfortable enough to share their troubles.

And with the STOPit solution, administrators have the added value of an incident management system that is intuitive and can be customized to best serve the client when escalating and resolving any issue.

It Costs Too Much to Do Nothing

The fact is that, in the wake of #MeToo, doing nothing is not an option for companies that want to remain competitive and profitable. Beyond any moral imperative, there’s the real cost of settling sexual harassment claims, plummeting morale and damage to a company’s reputation — these are real consequences that cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars each year in legal fees, loss of productivity and increased use of medical benefits.

Alex Fotopoulos, a lawyer in NYC, recommends STOPit to his clients because “I believe it provides a central and accessible reporting system that is anonymous and confidential. The STOPit system may serve to facilitate reporting of incidents that aren’t currently being brought forward, and allows organizations to identify specific areas of concern with targeted responses more quickly and efficiently than through other methods of reporting.”

Companies — and their employees — deserve real solutions that are effective and easy to implement and use. Sexual harassment cannot be tolerated, and in companies that embrace their power to remake their culture and empower employees to be part of the solution — #MeToo will eventually be an important moment in our history, not a fact of life.

STOPit Solutions for the workplace can be your easy to implement, effective solution to help address reports of sexual harassment. Call one of our representatives today or enter your information below to learn more.

Four Reasons To Love The New STOPit Admin Experience for Incident Management

Part 2 of 2 in a series on the STOPit 2018 Platform Update

Read Part 1

STOPit Solutions recently announced the launch of STOPit Admin, and users of the nation’s most popular anonymous reporting & management platform are already weighing in with their approval.

Formerly known as DOCUMENTit, STOPit Admin is an enhanced version of the comprehensive, streamlined, cloud-based incident management system enabling organization administrators to manage incidents submitted via the STOPit mobile app. Like the new version of the app, STOPit developers updated the user experience to capitalize on the most successful, most widely adopted features of the digital user experience today. STOPit Admin also deploys new, robust information sharing, analytics, and reporting features — part of the company’s commitment to continuously improve the entire user experience.

Easy-To-Use and Secure Incident Management

“It’s another tool for us to interact with our students in a manner which otherwise they probably would not. If we can help one child, that otherwise would not be helped– then why not do that. That’s our role. That’s what we’re supposed to do,” said Michael Coleman, a recently launched customer of the platform.

As with the reporting app, feedback from users and focus groups played an important role in the evolution of the platform.

“Our goal in refreshing the incident management platform was to make sure administrators continue to have the best, easiest to learn and easiest use incident management system available,” says Teresa Reuter, STOPit’s Director of Customer Success. “STOPit Admin delivers on that goal by empowering clients to be exceptionally effective, giving them more control over their ability to prioritize their time and attention.”

Here are a few highlights of what’s new with STOPit Admin:

  1. New Home screen: The attractive, easy to read layout is updated to include a section for administrators to broadcast organization-specific content that’s most relevant to their community. Whether the information being shared is targeted to the entire community or to a distinct group of people within the community, articles and announcements are shared based on knowledge of the prevailing challenges and opportunities at that organization.
  2. Updated Incident Report Snapshot area: Integrated into the Home screen, the Snapshot section for new and active incident reports includes an automatic pop up window highlighting new messages, saving administrators even more time and allowing them more control to set priorities.
  3. New Stats Snapshot feature: With more information, organized and available without running a full report, this section gives admins an at-a-glance look at the number of activations (users who download the app) and incident status information updates. Admins with monitoring and reporting responsibility use this option for a quick, accurate read on key information to share with other admins and supervisors at a moment’s notice.
    As always, detailed reporting is a key function of STOPit Admin, and robust reporting is available in the included Reports section.
  4. Updated Incident screen: Designed to mirror the ‘Inbox’ experience perfected by email clients, this screen now autofills the incident description. Tabs and other options on this screen are organized to make it even easier to manage user-facing as well as admin-facing tasks and messages.

Making the Switch to STOPit Admin

Users who loved DOCUMENTit’s functionality will delight to find there’s absolutely no learning curve for STOPit Admin. If you were adding incidents, and escalating or resolving incidents in DOCUMENTit, you know how to do it in STOPit Admin. As always, improvements to the STOPit platform make the entire experience easier, while delivering the same, superior results customers expect.

And for organizations who are using STOPit’s popular IMS Service which provides monitoring and and escalation services 24/7, the new interface makes it even easier for the first-line auditors to review each incident, determine the nature and priority of the report and take the right next steps. Whether that next step is to escalate actionable reports to an internal or external administrator — or not — those first-responders are getting anonymous incident reports in the most streamlined, integrated format available.

Find out more about how STOPit solutions can help your school, your workplace and your community reduce risk, discourage bad behavior and provide evidence to help catch those who act abusively.

Click below to contact us and find out more.

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