03 Making an IMPACT
8:08PM Jul 17, 2020
toxic work environment
Hello. So now we want to talk about how we take people in Cultural Health Training, individually, from having a toxic work environment to experiencing a healthy work environment. And this also, if you're trying to help other people, these are the steps that we use just for your information that we go through. But the main thing is if you're trying to help other people, the biggest thing you can do is create a safe environment for them to talk about their experience--to reach out for help from you, from us, from other resources that may be able to support them, individually, in whatever they're experiencing in their work environment.
If you don't know me, I am Meredith Holley. I'm a lawyer and certified life coach. I founded Eris Conflict Resolution, where we help employees stop toxic work environments without leaving their jobs.
So the first thing I want to talk about is who can go from creating a healthy work environment to... or, from having a toxic work environment to creating a healthy work environment. And, the thing that we know, from statistics after the me to movement started, is that, women report that, one in five women has left a career because of sexual harassment.
And so, if you extrapolate this number to the larger amount, the more complaints that happen regarding racism, regarding physical and mental abilities, regarding sexual orientation, gender identity--all of these other characteristics that are protected under the law--this is a much larger number.
So when we're looking at women who leave their career, because of sexual harassment, we have to know that as applied to the rest of the population, this number is much higher even than that which makes this a very large amount of the population that has left careers, left jobs, because of toxic work environment issues, right?
So what this creates is a huge expense for people who have characteristics that are stigmatized in society, that are not honored in society. This loses seniority, loses money for us. And, it's a huge cost to employers as well because they're losing employees and they're having these turnover rates and potentially not even knowing why.
So when we're looking at extreme situations, like people experiencing sexual harassment, you have to know that much, many more people experience toxic work environments, than that specific narrow area of what a toxic work environment can look like. Then, people are becoming career refugees--going from job to job to job, looking for work environments that might externally feel healthy because we're never taught how to encounter a work environment with behaviors that we do not want to tolerate in a positive way.
So that's all to say that if if you know somebody who's experienced something like this, you are not, they're not alone. You're not alone and it does not have to be that way.
So I want to give you a little list of the types of people that we've worked with who have experienced this kind of problem [and, I have to move my little screen so you can see... oops, I can do this]. Okay. So: professor, construction workers, psychologists, nurses, teachers, caregivers, lawyers, producer (like television producers), fast food workers, Title Nine investigators, publishers, scientists, nonprofit workers, retail managers, a monk, executives, coaches, marine tech (that's what that says over here, even though I'm covering it up), county administrator, tech specialists, managers... all these people. A huge amount and vast variety of people have had these experiences.
So, if you're in that kind of experience, you are not alone. And whether you're a fast food worker, whether you're a caregiver, whether you're a professor, an academic, a psychologist, a lawyer, we are all humans and most of us just have not been taught this. But, you can be taught how to address these issues and change your work environment. So... oh, and here's a little gratuitous image of my puppy who is experiencing a toxic work environment because she didn't get enough chews that day, I'm pretty sure.
Okay, so the first thing that we want to look at, that I usually like to inform people about is there's a difference between a toxic work environment--which we've defined as a work environment in which we're tolerating behavior that we do not want to tolerate--and discrimination.
Discrimination is a behavior that any of us have. The definition of discrimination is a recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another thing. So when we talk about illegal discrimination, what we're talking about is that we have an understanding of the similarities and differences between people like in these matching games that we teach to children. But we've made a mis-match. We've said two things are related to each other that are actually not related to each other.
So the example of this is, if I'm taking a math class, and I see somebody wearing a yellow shirt, and they get an A plus in math. So, the next time I take a math test, I show up in the yellow shirt, and I think that's going to make me good at math. The way this plays out, culturally, is that we make wrong correlations between people's physical characteristics and/or their behaviors that they engage in and their abilities. And these are just incorrect.
So in the law, we've made them illegal because they are harming society and they're incorrect, right? So discrimination in the dictionary definition is something we all do. And, then, what we need to do is look at where we have errors in our thinking. And, this can apply against ourselves as well--when we're experiencing a toxic work environment, when we're tolerating behavior that we don't want to tolerate.
So, what we want to do as allies, even as allies to ourselves, is think about this as becoming instead of being non-discriminatory, which most of us were taught to be. We want to think about being anti-biased.
And, so anti-bias says that we're willing to... for me, I'm going to give you the example of my experience. When I was experiencing sexual harassment, I was biased against myself and I couldn't see it. And the way that looked was I thought, women deserve everything and deserve to rise up in law firms, in the justice system, except there's something wrong with me personally. I had absorbed discriminatory bias against myself, and I couldn't even see it.
So what I had to do was become actively anti-bias. That means actively anti... against the assumptions and in favor of finding the assumptions that I had that might treat me differently than it treated other women even, or that it treated men, right?
So when I pretended that I was just non-discriminatory, and I just believed that women deserve everything, I couldn't see the bias against myself. This works the same. When we've absorbed bias against other groups of people that are different from us, what we need to do to shift that to create an environment that is inclusive for everyone and inclusive for ourselves. We need to look for those assumptions that don't work that represent incorrect matches of one thing and another thing.
So it's a little bit high-level. And, we go into this in much more detail in the course and apply this to you, specifically, in the course. But the way that this usually comes up as applied to ourselves in the workplace is, we think maybe there's something wrong with me that's causing this person to have a behavior I don't like. When we do that we turn against ourselves and we can't advocate for ourselves.
The way it looks for other people is we think: maybe there's something wrong with that person, and I just can't put my finger on it. But, that's why they're experiencing this behavior that they don't like, right? It looks similar. There's just something wrong and I don't know what it is. And, we need to explore that and look into it, in order to be able to actually create healthy cultures where we have goals that we have at work that are measurable, that we take action towards, that are for ourselves, and also that benefit us.
When we haven't done this anti-bias work about ourselves, done taking a look at really what's creating our toxic work environments and holding us back from enforcing the work environment that we want--when we haven't done that work--we stay stuck where we are. We really are powerless against our work environments. Do that inner work, to have the external reward for it.
So what we teach in Cultural Health Training is advocacy. We teach about how to set effective boundaries, advocacy in terms of boundaries, and then also how to have effective invitation advocacy (when you want to bring allies along with you to create the environment that you want to create).
So both how do you set consequences when someone's behavior has crossed a line? And, how do you bring people along with the direction that you want to go to create the workplace and the work and the service that you're meant to create in the world?
The way that we do this is through mental hygiene. Mental hygiene means looking for those assumptions, that we talked about, that work against us or that work against the people around us in ways that actually are untrue--that are assumptions, that are false false correlations, that are like confirmation bias of what we've been taught by culture. But, that actually doesn't work and it creates a work environment where we, or other people, are disadvantaged--not based on our own skills and abilities but based on assumptions and just what we've absorbed in culture about what we're allowed to do, how we're allowed to show up and how other people are allowed show up.
So this is what we typically absorb, is we absorb this hierarchy of culture, right? And, in a business that usually looks like owner, manager, employee. In turn, we have a hierarchy that we enforce about who has power in the workplace. And, then, what we do is we add on all these other beliefs about groups that we either are privileged in, we either have privilege in these areas, or we're disadvantaged culturally in these areas, historically.
So race, color, national origin, gender, physical ability, mental ability, sexual orientation, religion, age, marital status, gender identity, domestic violence experience, military status, immigration status... and these are just a few that are protected under the law... weight, physical appearance, hair color, all of these characteristics. We absorb messages about ourselves, and about our privilege in these categories, or about our disadvantages in these categories and what we don't deserve. Right?
So when we've absorbed these and we haven't examined them, often, the work environment works against us. We don't let ourselves fully show up or we don't let other people fully show up based on our expectations of what people deserve.
So when we're looking at this, we use the impact model of examining our assumptions so we can shift them and we can fully show up in the world. So the impact model says that there's an incident. And the incident is the objective facts of your environment, the objective neutral facts of the experience you've had. Usually they're neutral, they're not always neutral. But often you want to get to what's neutral, what's objective, what's factual about what happened, then. So this is the external experience, the incident.
Then, we have this internal ability to respond to the incident. And that starts with the meaning that we create as humans with human brains. Our brains just have judgments and beliefs and are creating meaning all the time. And that's the magic of the human brain. It's awesome. But sometimes the meaning that we create, the thought that we create, in our mind works against us or works against people that we actually care about, and what we actually want to create. So the meaning is your thought about the incident and you want to have it in one sentence.
Our meaning creates the physiology in our body. So we have a thought and, usually, it's unconscious. So we notice a feeling first. But the physiology is like the feelings that we have, the emotions that we have in our body. The physiology is a chemical that's released from your brain into your body. So your body has a response. First, your brain has a response, then your body has a response. And, then, that determines how we act or don't act, how we how we do something or don't do something.
So when we feel depressed, we may hide under the covers. When we feel motivated, we'll take action. And then our action creates a direct consequence. So when we hide under the covers, nothing happens. There's no impact. When we are motivated, we might get work done. We might tell somebody our actual opinion. And ,then, all of this creates a theme.
There's a theme to our response, and that is whether we're making impact or no impact. Are we impacting ourselves? Are we impacting our environment? Is our impact restful, nourishing? Is it in our favor? Is it taking action in the external world to create the workplace that we want to show up with/what we're meant to create in the world? Or, does it show up against ourselves and make no impact in our environment? Or, make an impact against ourselves and our environment?
So all of this is just a practice of going through each individual, potential assumption that we have--making sure that it serves us, instead of working against us in our workplace environment.
So Incident, Meaning, Physiology, Action, Consequence and, then, the Theme. This is the internal. This is the external. It's usually external, sometimes it can be internal depending. And then, and then you decide whether the theme impacts you, impacts your environment, or both the internal and external processes.
So this lets us know what's in... this is what's in our control: the meaning, physiology, action, consequence. This is in our control. This is outside of our control: the incident. And, then, we go through all of this and decide how you might want to make shifts, whether what you're believing now, the meaning that you're making in your environment work, or whether there's a bigger impact that you can make.
So, often what we're doing, especially with our clients (and most of our clients are in distress at work). We always want people to come to us before you're experiencing serious distress. But, a lot of our clients who are experiencing a lot of distress at work have absorbed from their environment, a lot of bias against ourselves. So if we're going to be truly anti-biased, if we're going to be truly anti-discrimination, we also have to be anti-bias against ourselves. That's when we can really show up and make an impact on our environment, set clear boundaries, and decide what we want to tolerate, what we don't want to tolerate, and then set those measurable goals to create the environment that we want to create.
So then you want to decide, for you, what does this mean for you. Like, our belief is anyone can recover from a toxic work environment. And many of us, like me, need help because we have not been taught how to enforce clear boundaries in our environment so that we're not tolerating behavior that we don't want to tolerate. We just have not been taught how to do that. And somehow we expect ourselves to know without ever been taught. That is not realistic, and it's not fair. And, our careers are worth learning all these things to protect them and so that we can show up doing all the work that we're meant to do.
So if you know someone who might be in a toxic work environment, encourage them to talk about it. Create a safe space for them to talk about it, and reach out for help, if help would be useful.
I always give everybody everything I know in my books... I used to use an older model, so this doesn't include the new IMPACT model that I've created. But, it has all the basic themes in these books. So go to careerdefense101.com if you want to do self-study. If you think you can do this on your own, do it. We give all this away for free. We want to create healthy work environments and we would love to see your work environment be whatever you want it to be. So careerdefense101.com gives you all of this in book form, if that's helpful to you.
If you don't want to wait to read the book and you know that you are ready to advance in your career, take control of your work environment, create a healthy work environment, this is what you should know...
So when an employee leaves a job because of a toxic work environment, it costs both the employee and the employer. This is when you leave: at least one-fifth of that employee's salary. And so, these are the numbers of what that looks like. So, this is the one-fifth rule. [I'm gonna move over here, um... so $10,000 a year salary, the total cost is $4,000 of the lost relationship.
And, the reason I offer this is most people's ultimate answer that we're taught is that we can leave the work environment and find a better one. Sometimes, this is a smart choice. If you can leave a work environment to get a better work environment, where you're paid more, then sometimes people make that choice.
Other times, people want to stay just to help their co-workers and protect their co-workers and make an impact in the work environment because they love the work that they do. But, sometimes, people do want to change. And this, to me is the math of how you know if you want to leave your work environment, or if you want to fire an employee, versus whether you need to invest in training, so that everyone in your workplace can be healthy.
So if if the salary of the employee is $10,000 a year, then the total cost of the relationship, if the relationship ends, is about $4,000. This is just an estimate based on the Human Resources knowledge that we have. Some people say that this is a minimum cost. But you know that, like, if you can get a job that makes you more money as an employee, if you're making $10,000 a year you might want to leave and get the better job, right?
If you're an employer and employee is costing you more than $2,000 in a year, you might want to terminate the relationship. This is the math of how you decide that. But once you get into like the $50,000 a year range, both people are losing about $10,000 a year. This might seem like a small investment. But the other consideration you want to make is that when an employee leaves, when an employee is terminated, often other people see that happen. It creates more fear in the environment and it impedes work. So it's really more than this. And if you have multiple people leaving...
So say you have five $50,000 a year employees leaving and that costs the company $50,000. That's an enormous investment in keeping things the same. Really, the only people that benefit when employees are leaving because of toxic work environments is harassers that create a systemic cultural issue where harassers are supported, where abusers are supported. Instead of supporting employees who may just need information about how to resolve toxic work environments, how to set clear consequences for boundary violations and how to advocate for themselves, right?
So you want to look at this table and really decide what is the cost of leaving what is the cost of terminating an employee and the total cost of the relationship for if you want to invest in ongoing training, whether it's through us or through anywhere else that might contribute to healing this relationship and create an end, impacting the rest of the workplace to be a healthier workplace overall.
So once you get to like a $200,000 employee and you're investing $80,000 in a lost relationship, it's just, like, such an exponential investment that employers make and not seen change. I think that it is almost always worth getting the training that you need.
And, for employees too. Often... I had one employee come to me and she said that she was making $120,000 a year. And the work environment was so bad that she wanted to leave for a $50,000 a year job. So she was willing to invest $60,000 a year in resolving that work environment. After we worked together, she was able to not only resolve the work environment and have no wage loss, she also found a job at $140,000 a year, so she increased her income.
So she invested money upfront with us to resolve things, but she got so much out of it and it was so much less than she would have invested if she had left her job.
So, let's see. Okay, so if you know someone who has... who this sounds like, you care about your career, you know you career is worth investing in, and you're worried that things haven't gotten quite bad enough yet, but you're worried they might. And, I will tell you, from my experience, when we ignore problems, it's like ignoring a broken leg, they only get worse. But often people don't want to create drama, but they're starting to dread going to work. And they've always been smart and tough enough to handle problems but they're encountering something different... it is worth reaching out and considering Cultural Health Training as an option, and applying to work with us.
We take a limited number of people every month into Cultural Health Training because it's one-on-one, individualized training for you, for your career, where we work with you. Our whole team works with you to make sure that you're supported and having the healthiest career you can have, and advancing in your career, and in resolving cultural health issues at work.
So visit us at erisresolution.com/training, and you can consider everything. That's where you can apply to be considered for Cultural Health Training. Your career is worth it, you are worth it. And if you're somebody who has employees who you're worried about their cultural health, your business is worth it. Right?
We want to see businesses, employees, everyone showing up with their full skills, not distracted by these cultural health issues that, really, people just need information and training in order to resolve.
Alright, thank you so much for watching all of this and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. But go through and take a look at the training information. Let us know if there are any questions that we can answer and thanks so much for watching!