Friday 20 September 2019

Eric Mosley: 'One year on from #MeToo explosion workplaces are key to driving change'

Tarana Burke. Photo: AP
Tarana Burke. Photo: AP

Eric Mosley

It's one year on since sexual misconduct cases sparked a public debate about the way people - primarily women - continue to be treated at work. These cases ignited the #MeToo movement, demonstrating that sexual harassment and assault is commonplace across many workplaces.

While a lot of attention has been rightly levelled at the entertainment industry, making workplaces safer is a real issue for all industries. With the majority of people spending a substantial part of their day at work, workplaces can become the driving force for change, given the influence and the power they hold in our society.

Over the past year, social activism and movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have driven an important shift in the balance of power in the workplace. People want - and expect - their voices to be heard. They want to be recognised for their accomplishments.

As a father to two daughters, I want to know that future generations will not have to still be fighting for workplace equality. I firmly believe it is our moral obligation now to ensure every workplace is rid of misogyny, misconduct, and disrespect.

Earlier this year, Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, urged HR managers to be brave and influence change in their organisations.

So how can business leaders in Ireland leverage this moment in time to create a culture change?

Burke said: "Community problems need community solutions. This is not about taking down powerful men. You can't change policies after you find things out. You have to have a culture where this won't happen."

I could not agree more. Change needs to trickle down from the top - business leaders need to emulate the culture they want to create. Building a culture of respect where everyone feels empowered and has a voice is the first step.

Research published by the WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute showed that women are less likely to feel safe speaking up in the workplace, compared with men.

Recognition and feedback is an effective way to create a more positive workplace where everyone can have a voice. Giving everyone in the company the power to recognise each other through social recognition is proven to have a better impact on employees' experience at work, compared with recognition just coming from senior leaders.

The command and control style of management is not fit for today's workforce. Companies need to create workplaces where employees feel fairly compensated, feel safe, are heard and have strong connections with their managers and co-workers. As a business leader, it is up to me and my peers to ensure workplace culture is fit for our current workforce and that future generations will not experience the inequality that still exists today.

  • Eric Mosley is CEO and founder of Globoforce. He is the author of 'The Crowdsourced Performance Review' and co-author of the award-winning book, 'The Power of Thanks'

Irish Independent

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