I've been listening to a ton of podcasts lately and one of my new favorites is "How I Built This" hosted by Guy Raz of NPR. As I'm typically drawn to the stories of bad ass female entrepreneurs, I started listening to the episode with Whitney Wolfe, creator of Bumble. In her interview, she briefly speaks about her exit from Tinder and the sexual harassment lawsuit involved with that event....cue the rabbit hole.
I started to look up every article related to the incident to gain all the information I could and learned it had HR nightmare written all over it. Check out a great summary the situation here.
Yes, it was bad behavior. Yes, it was atrocious behavior. All that aside, there's a lot from this story to owners, managers and leaders can leave from.
Everything Can Become Public Information
You have to remember that each time you send an e-mail or write a text, there's someone on the receiving end. Screen shots and email forwards can be your worst nightmare. And I'm not suggesting that you should only keep horribly offensive comments to verbal conversations. I'm simply suggesting that before you hit "send" take a look at what you're writing and determine if it's necessary
Role Definition is Essential
This comes up so often in small business where job descriptions often don't exist and it was a huge part of this case. YOU NEED JOB DESCRIPTIONS. You need to be clear on the roles that exist within your organization, job titles and specific responsibilities. Can this lead to "that's not my job" syndrome, absolutely. But I'd must rather have a business avoid a lawsuit than and have to actively manage their culture than be stuck with a hefty settlement related to Workers Compensation or a discrimination or wrongful termination claim.
Social and Work Blending Has to Be Handled REALLY Carefully
Situations like this cause me physical pain because it's can be so challenging for businesses to maintain a fun and engaged culture while maintaining a business environment. There's only so much business owners can do about social relationships however there is a lot that can be done regarding allowing those to impact the workplace environment and culture. Instead of turning a blind eye, observe, observe, observe. You can address things quick enough before they turn into a bigger problem.
This situation was tough to read about but I think there's always opportunities to take in this information and reflect on how a similar situation could impact your business and what you can do about it.
Here's to a great week!