Category Archives: 16daysofaction

16 Days of Action Day 6: Getting Employer Support and Buy-in

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One of the most important aspects of creating a sustainable program will be to encourage the entire company to understand why domestic abuse and violence affects business. This is often quite difficult for most people to understand, as domestic abuse is often silent, hidden and happens to other people. However, by creating a strategy that is inclusive, recognizes the linkages to company policies, health/wellbeing and diversity initiatives and includes senior management support, the path will be much smoother. There are many ways to do this:

Bring in senior management: Understand what is critical to senior management. It could be lowering absenteeism and turnover or increasing productivity. It could be addressing the health and wellbeing of employees, often lowering absenteeism and increasing productivity. It could be addressing diversity and inclusion. Being able to link the impact of domestic abuse will be critical for senior management buy in. Health and wellbeing are impacted by the mental and physical health of people who endure, witness and perpetrate violence. Diversity and inclusion are impacted as domestic violence and abuse does not happen to 1 type of person.

Often an informal meeting with HR, IT, Finance and Operations can start the ball rolling. Invite key leaders in and link to external organizations who can help with the conversation.

Position the need within the business: Domestic abuse dramatically impacts the attendance, turnover, productivity and presenteeism of employees. It is critical to make the case within the business context. Highlighting the absence rate, turnover, and productivity of an area in work will be critical. Also part of the case to make will be to take 10% of the female population, the average salary of employees and calculate 5 business days of absence and the immediate cost to business is reflected.

Making a part of the corporate culture: If the company has health fairs, have a stand on domestic abuse and one by a third sector organisation. If the company has lunch and learn sessions, diversity awareness, or other supporting people initiatives, invite a qualified third sector organization that understands the impact of dv on business to participate. Many companies have policies on respect and dignity in the workplace, as well as policies against harassment and bullying. Employee Legislation requires that an employee has a responsibility to keep an employee safe both physically and emotionally while at work or acting on behalf of the company. Work with a qualified third sector organization that understands the legal requirements and impact of dv on business to start a conversation with HR.

Be proud of the work being done: Companies often recognise work being done by innovative employees who impact the workplace culture. Encourage recognition and have senior management take the time to speak with staff about the good work being done.

Melissa Morbeck, Executive Director, The Corporate Alliance

 

16 Days of Action – Making Workplaces Safer

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Domestic violence is often a phrase that frightens not only people who endure, but also those who witness, family members, children and, well, most of us. It is a silent epidemic that many people, especially in their workplaces, shy away from speaking about. It is a term we use interchangeably with domestic abuse, both addressing the power and control of one person over another. Domestic abuse is a way we acknowledge coercive control, financial abuse, sexual violence, emotional manipulation, stalking as forms we are now including as part of the epidemic of abuse. It forms the pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour that men and women will endure. In the last year, 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men have experienced domestic abuse, equivalent to an estimated 1.4 million female victims and 700,000 male victims. With over 30 million people working in England and Wales, people who endure, witness and perpetrate abuse are working.

The 16 Days of Action is an international campaign highlighting abuse, violence and ways all sectors of society can come together to build safer lives. It has it’s very strong roots in the women’s movement. The 16 Days starts on 25 November with the UN International Day for the Elimination of Domestic Violence and Ends with International Human Rights Day on December 10. Last year, PHE and The Alliance worked collaboratively to create a toolkit for businesses to be part of the awareness raising, discussion and action during this critical Campaign (www.16daysofaction.co.uk).

Businesses do so much to support their employees – from wellness programs to health and fitness and mental health provision. Yet there is a taboo that is often too hard to get their head around – how dv isn’t a personal issue and does come to work. Currently, most employers understand domestic violence to take place only within the home. However, we now know that 75% of those who endure domestic violence suffer at work. This is because they are constantly locatable in their office. It is possible the person enduring changed home, switched their childs’ school, but it is most likely that they retained their same job. Hence, why that statistic indicated a vast number of employees being targeted.

16 Days is both important and applicable for all types of workplaces, whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees because the emotional and physical injury a person who endures will most likely put them out of work. Those who endure miss on average 5 days of work a month or are typically less productive even if they do make it into the office. For small companies, domestic violence will have an obvious and huge effect. Losing one of 10 employers, let’s say, would cost the company money and manpower on a very large scale. For larger companies, the impact would be more easily hidden. However, the impact is still real, as the larger the company, the more likely multiple employees are enduring. And one of those could possibly be a senior employee. If not, that same senior employee could educate himself or herself to aid their employees who are hoping to disclose and find help.

The 16 Days of Action is a critical time for businesses to look at their role in how they support their staff. This can be for those who endure, perpetrate or witness violence, or perhaps a friend or family member who is so overcome with distress that they need help too. The Alliance will work with all employers to assist in providing support and strategic consultancy on their journey. Over the past year we have helped 137 member and non-member companies with cases from all sorts of businesses who have sought assistance. All of these employees are safe, in work and their employees are safe.

Over the next 16 Days we will share experiences of how dv resonates in the lives of our businesses and friends. We will discuss solutions and ways to make a difference. We will share our learnings and encourage those who read the blog to share their experiences as well.

We now see that employee wellbeing is inextricably linked with productivity and company success. The key to tackling domestic violence is to ensure that management understands the issue, their legal obligations surrounding it, and educate them on what simple steps can save an employee’s life.

 

Melissa Morbeck
Executive Director
The Corporate Alliance