Think your boss won't take your workplace complaint seriously? Try rephrasing - Delaware


May 14, 2019 3:57 pm

Think your boss won’t take your workplace complaint seriously? Try rephrasing

A quick tip for dealing with office toxicity.
Diversity and Inclusion Lunch: Verizon Media’s Jennifer Kho and Aja Harris with Yahoo Lifestyle’s Dana Oliver.

Diversity and Inclusion Lunch: Verizon Media's Jennifer Kho and Aja Harris with Yahoo Lifestyle's Dana Oliver.

(Photo by Holly Quinn)

Filing a complaint at your company is serious business. And, if you find yourself needing to file over implicit sexism, homophobia or racial bias, you’ll be stepping into a minefield.

One of the last questions of the Diversity and Inclusion Lunch at the HUE Tech Summit (a Philly Tech Week 2019 presented by Comcast community event) concerned the best way to deal with difficult complaints, and Jennifer Kho, managing editor of Huffington Post, offered some truly useful advice:

“Put it into business terms,” she said.

What does that mean?

As Racheal Stinson, director of HR for Verizon Media (which includes HuffPo, TechChrunch, Yahoo and Tumblr) immediately noted, “in a lot of cases, we have to find proof of malice. Sometimes, we have to tell [the person who filed the complaint] that there was no malice” — and then nothing is done about a workplace that may continue to be difficult for some employees.

The thing is, an absence of malice doesn’t equal a workplace with an absence of bias.

“Say something like, ‘I have concerns about employee retention,'” said Kho.

Make it about the bottom line instead of whether a certain colleague is a bad person. It might not matter on a grand business scale if one person’s feeling’s are hurt — but if a company has trouble retaining women or people of color or LGBTQ employees, that’s an issue that might lead to change.


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