How a Bi-Racial C-Suite Duo Take On Workplace Mistreatment
Career workers speaking out against workplace harassment and mistreatment are increasing, which means pressure for the companies reaping the fruits of their labor. For example, Bari Weiss, a former staff editor at the NY Times Opinion Section stepped down in 2020 after decrying a bullying workplace culture where “self-censorship had become the norm.”
Often, workplace tensions are at a high decibel before a company stirs from a deep slumber awakening to the seriousness of the noise. Amidst a national flood at tsunami proportions of growing awareness when it comes to mistreatment, organizations still struggle to recognize and resolve workplace issues before it’s too late. Often employees choose to walk – or file a public lawsuit – before HR or leadership wake up to the fact that systemic problems exist.
Jana Morrin and Nandini Easwar, collided over this exact issue.
Morrin was a thriving young professional who chose to leave a coveted spot and risk her career rather than carry the abuse she was receiving. Easwar was proving her muscle in Silicon Valley yet was growing tired of the racial slurs and boys club battles she faced.
Morrin wanted her legacy to be someone who made a shift in the retaliation, harassment, and microaggression that plagues the workforce, remote or in person. Easwar wanted to contribute to a human-centric approach to tech that would have an authentic workplace culture impact.
Though apprehensive, Morrin posted a job description for a new tech platform she was envisioning. Easwar was the first to reply. It was exactly what she’d been seeking. And the bi-racial business duo teamed up.
Together, they created “Speakfully” leading the way to a new normal within the workplace. The tech platform provides an organic approach for an employee to track and record multiple incidents of uncomfortable work experiences until they are ready to come forward. Often, a worker facing mistreatment is confused, not sure where lines are to be drawn and what is considered mistreatment. With tracking, those issues become clear.
For leadership, analytics from anonymous tracking provide a proactive solution in identifying conversations necessary to ensure a healthy workplace culture.
With analytics involving the people within the company, a picture window is revealed as to what is really happening within an organization and what workers are truly facing, measuring overall wellbeing, mental health and perhaps hidden worker experiences, positive and negative.
Easwar, responsible for the technical design side of the Speakfully platform relayed that much research and thought went into carefully crafting the reporting platform to emit a safe haven for any worker experiencing uncomfortable workplace experiences. Through the use of color, imagery, and logical steps in questioning, Speakfully guides users gently in order to document what is happening until they are crystal clear and willing to address the issues through proper channels.
In regard to her own experience, Morrin wishes she’d had such a tool when going through her own case of mistreatment. She was always strong, outgoing, and seen as a leader, surprised when she fell victim to inappropriate behavior from her immediate boss. Having a platform to guide her through documenting the mistreatment may have provided the support she needed to create a different outcome.
Currently, employees tracking workplace experiences still has a taboo, seen as something employees do in secret and something for leadership to avoid or prevent.
By doing the reverse and encouraging it, the transparency of tracking tells us what’s wrong, unveiling the red flags through analytics to increase the probability of fixing systemic issues and finally breaking down barriers to healthy workplace culture. Morrin said in a recent blog post, “We want to truly create change. We want to bridge the gap. Change the status quo. Be a part of the movement…”
While workplace harassment and mistreatment may not go away overnight, addressing the issues with transformative tools like Speakfully can lead to establishing a more positive route to the end goal. And hopefully a better way through for today’s workers facing mistreatment in the career world.
This guest post was authored by Susan Gold
Susan is a PR Strategist and Consultant working happily on behalf of the SPEAKFULLY platform and movement.