How the Right Questions Can Lead to Results

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I don’t need to tell you that workplace mistreatment can—in its most innocuous forms—suck, and at its worst prove to be a devastating, life-absorbing cause of dread and misery. 

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve either experienced unfair treatment at work yourself, or you’re in an HR or senior leadership position at an organization where you’re actively attempting to protect your team from mistreatment.

Either way, you know what it’s like for those on the receiving end. 

Oftentimes, all of a victim’s mental energy winds up allocated toward simply getting through the day. And they’ve also got to keep performing the duties of their role. And try to keep the wheels of their personal lives spinning. This is all to say that those who are suffering through workplace mistreatment have enough on their plates already, without having to strategize over how to fix the situation.

That’s where the HR team comes in to help—as soon as the affected individual steps forward. But life isn’t like a movie. If you’re experiencing mistreatment, chances are you won’t triumphantly burst into your HR department’s office, drop a stack of relevant documents on a desk with a flourish, then launch into a Sorkin-esque monologue outlining—in astonishing detail—every instance of unfair treatment that’s befallen you.

No. Coming forward to speak openly about mistreatment is in itself a challenge. Traumatic experiences can prove difficult to recall. Nervousness can shake one’s poise. And if it’s been an on-going struggle, there simply might be too much to cleanly recall at once.

We know all this. We’ve been there. And that’s why Speakfully’s reporting features are designed to take as much of the burden off the reporting person as possible.

When a Speakfully user creates an entry within a folder, they are required to answer several seemingly basic questions. However, the information these questions ask for can be the difference between a report being actionable for an HR team, or not.

Organizations signed up for the Basic or Pro versions of Speakfully will by default require that users include the following information in all submitted reports:

  • What happened?
    • This gives users a chance to summarize their mistreatment, in their own words. Combined with any attached documents or screenshots they choose to include, this helps paint an overview for HR of what’s been transpiring.
  • What did you experience? 
    • This will help HR to understand the sort of mistreatment you experienced, by sorting it into the following categories: “harassment,” “bias,” “discrimination,” “not sure,” and “other.” Categorization lets HR take a broader look to spot—and address—potentially systemic issues.
  • Where and when did this take place? 
    • Specifics matter. So Speakfully asks where mistreatment occurred (at the workplace, at a work event, not at work, or other), and prompts users to select a date for each incident. Speakfully automatically timestamps when an entry is created, but we get that you won’t always be able to log an incident the second after it happened.
  • What was the severity of the experience you logged above?
    • We know this is subjective, but it’s helpful for HR to get a sense of how severely (low, medium, or high) you felt mistreated.

And should a user decide to formally submit their folder to HR, a second series of questions is asked.

  • Who are the people involved? 
    • Speakully asks users to list all involved parties and specify if they were the offender or a witness.
  • What is your ideal outcome? 
    • In an ideal world, what actions are you hoping HR take? Mediation, an issued warning, termination, none, or something else entirely?
  • Are you willing to talk to the involved people? 
    • With mediation or other alternative outcomes, communication can be a major factor in seeking a resolution. So Speakfully asks about your comfort level in terms of speaking with involved parties. Victims can consent to talk to all involved parties, some involved parties, or not consent to talk to any involved parties. There’s no pressure.
  • Who do you want to submit this folder to?
    • Speakfully users are able to choose which HR staffer will oversee their case, should they desire to do so.

By providing answers to all of these questions during the documentation process, the mistreated employee has already ensured they have the tools needed to best help HR help them. And by submitting this information electronically to a trusted HR staffer, additional stress is removed from the equation, and the person reporting mistreatment can more confidently seek help.

Want to take Speakfully’s reporting questions a step further? You can. Organizations using Speakfully at the Enterprise level can take in-depth reporting a step further, by customizing the questions users must answer when reporting. Add or remove data fields, or even change existing ones—whatever it takes for your HR team to better assist those experiencing mistreatment!