Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Taking Action Against Sexual Harassment

GETTY_B_111611_SexualHarassmentOn my blog last week, I posed some questions to get you thinking about your organization’s preparedness for incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace. This week, I want to dive into the actual steps and procedures you must consider when handling these difficult situations.

Recently, greater responsibility has been placed on organizations to identify and support employees who are in a state of distress or exhibiting other emotional issues. But as we all know, it is not always easy to identify these individuals.

If you’re fortunate enough to have an employee come forward, there are a few imminent steps to take.

  • Gather as much detail as possible
  • Determine if immediate medical attention is necessary
  • Determine if the employee is safe or in imminent danger
  • Create a supportive environment
  • Identify resources available to the employee

If you’re having concerns about an employee, but they’ve not come forward, there are still necessary actions you should take.

  • Monitor their behavior over a period of time (specifically mood patterns, performance, and attendance)
  • Keep records with dates and situations of observed behaviours
  • When sufficient information is gathered, you should approach the individual to discuss the concerns in a private and confidential manner
  • Create a supportive environment
  • Remind the employee of the resources available to everyone and how to access them

The sad reality is Domestic Violence is the fastest growing type of workplace violence in Canada. Not only does Domestic Violence affect the victim, it can impact the entire workplace, through absenteeism, lowered productivity, and safety concerns for the victim and his/her coworkers.

We all contribute to making the workplace a safe, supportive place, so understand your role and make sure you’re doing your part.

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Sexual Harassment – How Prepared Is Your Organization?

Sexual-Harassment-22Looking back on 2014, it is quite apparent that there was an influx in the number of workplace sexual harassment scandals appearing in the media. First, renowned CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was arrested and charged on four counts of sexual assault, and has since had three charges added after more accusers stepped forward. Soon after, our Parliament was under fire after female MPs and staffers began coming forward with sexual assault allegations against many high-profile male MPs. Turning to our neighbours to the South, television legend Bill Cosby made headline news after numerous women came forward claiming the actor had assaulted them in the past.

With many of these allegations occurring in the workplace, business owners and human resources departments must be more aware than ever of how to prevent, notice, and deal with sexual harassment. Without the proper procedures in place to prevent and/or handle cases of sexual harassment, employers are at risk of a long list of negative repercussions, including decreased productivity, low morale, increased absenteeism, and potential legal expenses.

What questions must you ask yourself in preparation to prevent/respond to sexual harassment in your organization? We’ve listed some to start with below:

  • Do you have a defined procedure in place to deal with the sexual harassment?
  • What response-time standard will you institute to indicate a sense of urgency for the complaint?
  • How will you communicate the severity for which you handle each and every case?
  • Do you have the appropriate resources available to deal with the complaint?
  • Do you have the appropriate resources available to the person who complained, and the remainder of your employees?
  • How will you communicate the action taken to the person who complained?

Answering these questions is only the beginning. Depending on your responses, your challenge is to ensure you’re armed with the right tools to respond to cases of sexual harassment and just as importantly, to take appropriate action in order to mitigate sexual harassment in your workplace

The conversation regarding sexual harassment in the workplace is an important one, which is why we want to go beyond this blog to talk to you about it. This year at the 2015 HRPA from January 21-23, Aspiria is offering you the opportunity to discuss your organization’s policy, training and concerns regarding sexual harassment by meeting with an expert from Yellow Brick House, a women’s shelter and counselling centre in York Region and myself.
Space is limited, so don’t waste any time in calling to book your 15 minute “meet the experts” appointment with us at Aspiria’s booth (#312)! Contact 1-877-277 4742 ext 105 or e-mail us to schedule your appointment.


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Setting the Right Goals

Goal-SettingA new year provides an opportunity for many of us to set goals to work towards, after reflecting on changes we want to see in our lives. Setting goals is a part of human nature: they provide us with purpose and motivation to become our best possible selves, whether it’s personally or professionally.

So how is it that so many of us are taking this very important task, and doing it all wrong? What many people don’t realize is that there is more to goal-setting than simply thinking of a broad stroke dream and telling yourself you want it to happen. Deciding to merely “lose weight” or “quit smoking” is a start, but it is also about how you approach your goal that will result in its greatest probability of success.

What do you need to do differently? I’ve outlined five things you can do to ensure your resolutions become reality in 2015:

  1. Write them down
    • Putting things onto paper helps you form a “contract” with yourself. Write down your goals and post them somewhere you’ll see them often (i.e. your smartphone, desk, fridge, bathroom mirror, car dashboard)
  1. Narrow your goals
    • We work best when we can focus on one goal at a time, especially when there may be more than one lifestyle change that’s affected. Only include goals where you will truly push yourself to succeed. Perhaps delay some goal-setting for later dates throughout the year to give each of them the attention they deserve.
  1. Make sure they’re SMART!
    • All your goals should pass the SMART test; they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For more information on SMART goal setting, click here: http://topachievement.com/smart.html
  1. Envision an action plan from the beginning!
    • Have an idea of exactly how you’re going to tackle your goal as soon as you make it. If you can’t even think of where to start, perhaps it is too big a feat and you may need to scale it back.
  1. Make yourself accountable.
    • Teaming up with a buddy who shares your goal by being your ally can help you stay on track. Friends can be a great source of support and encouragement.

Remember to pat yourself on the back on the positive changes you will make, and let us know how well you did! I wish you all the best of success in your endeavours in 2015.