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DiversityNursing Blog

'Ambient' Bullying in the Workplace

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:49 AM

From Human Resource Executive Online By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

It's one thing to be bullied by a co-worker or a boss, but simply witnessing the behavior in the workplace can be enough to make a worker call it quits, according to a study of "ambient" bullying.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada surveyed 357 nurses in 41 hospital units and found a statistically significant link between working in an environment where bullying was occurring and a desire to leave the organization. The study was published last month in the journal Human Relationsby SAGE.

"We underestimate the power of the impact of just being around bullying in the workplace," says Sandra Robinson, a professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business and one of the authors of the study.

office bully"For those seeking to influence problematic behavior, they need to be sensitive [to the fact] that the impact of such behavior transcends the person or the group . . . actually being bullied, and that there may be other victims who are impacted by the harmful behavior, whether it comes from their supervisor or co-workers," Robinson says.

Marianne Jacobbi, senior editor at Ceridian/Lifeworks EAP programs in Boston, says research has shown that ambient bullying, or "indirect bullying" is pervasive -- 70 percent of employees say they have witnessed other people being bullied or mistreated at work.

"Bullying has a negative effect on team relationships, which creates a toxic work environment," Jacobbi says. "When [people] witnesses bulling, they think, 'This could be me next,' particularly if it's their boss."

Indeed, research has also shown that 72 percent of all bullies are bosses, she says.

HR managers should encourage an environment in which people feel safe to discuss bullying they've witnessed, and assessed that their comments will remain confidential whether they come to their boss, the HR department or the organization's employee-assistance program, Jacobbi says.

"The most important thing is creating a climate where people feel they have someplace to go when they feel uncomfortable," she says.

Ken Zuckerberg, director of training at ComPsych Corp. in Chicago, says HR managers not only have to watch out for employees with low morale after witnessing bullying, but also employees who try to appease the bully and make bad business decisions to avoid getting on their bad side.

When dealing with bullying behavior, organizations should treat it as a performance problem first and foremost, Zuckerberg says. A common mistake that HR managers often make in these situations is to take on the role of a counselor and try to figure out what is going on in the bully's life to cause them to act that way.

"One word of caution ? you want to continue to manage performance, but you don't want to be diagnosing mental-health issues," he says. "Most HR managers are not clinicians and they instead, should refer the bully to their EAP for help in uncovering what might be core issues behind bullying."

Seymour Adler, a partner with Aon Hewitt in New York and an organizational psychologist, says some people who witness bullying in the workplace feel they've been put in "a totally untenable situation of whether or not they need to try to be a hero."

"Who knows what the consequences will be if they do something about it, so they end up being passive about it," Alder says. "That can really be very corroding to their self-esteem, to how they view themselves as human beings."

If top-level managers are bullies, HR managers need to risk confronting them for the sake of the rest of the organization, he says.

"[HR managers have] the responsibility for the motivation, effective use and treatment of all of the human capital within their organizations," Adler says. "They need to be true to their value system, even if it ends up costing them their job."

Topics: management, unity, diversity, Workforce, nursing, nurse, bullying, community, career

BMH first hospital in state to be named LGBT friendly

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:36 AM

From By Michelle Kinsey

MUNCIE — Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital wants to make sure that every person who walks through their doors gets equal treatment.

That commitment has landed the hospital at the top of a list, as the first in the state to be designated as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) friendly by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

The news came in the form of the HRC’s annual Healthcare Equality Index for 2012, which looks at how equitably healthcare facilities in the United States treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and employees.LGBT

IU Health BMH was one of 234 nationwide — but the only one in the state — recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality,” meeting all four core policy categories — patient non-discrimination; employment non-discrimination; equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and training in LGBT patient-centered care.

“We are proud of the recognition,” said IU Health BMH President and CEO Mike Haley. “It’s the result of a lot of hard work.”

That work began two years ago, after a transgender patient claimed she was mistreated in the hospital’s emergency room.

Transsexual Erin Vaught claimed she was called “it” and “he-she” and eventually denied treatment when she went to the ER on July 18, 2010, for a lung condition that was causing her to cough up blood.

Complaints were filed days later by Indiana Equality and Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance and the incident went viral, with the hospital receiving criticism nationwide, and beyond.

Ball Memorial Hospital released a statement saying the hospital was conducting an internal review.

The result?

“We failed to meet their needs,” Haley said. “We acknowledged that openly.”

Then they went a step further.

“It’s one thing to apologize,” he said. “It’s another to say, ‘And furthermore, I want this hospital to be considered as a place anyone would want to go if they needed a hospital.’”

Haley issued a challenge to all physicians, employees and volunteers to meet every HRC key indicator.

Ann McGuire, vice president of human resources for IU Health BMH, led the hospital’s efforts. Members of the LGBT community were asked to help.

Jessica Wilch, board member and past president of Indiana Equality, an LGBT rights group, said she was a “believer in what (IU Health BMH was) trying to do” from the first meeting.

“When this went viral, my concern was that BMH would take the stand that this was an isolated incident and just pacify the process,” Wilch said. “Instead they saw it as a teachable moment.”

New policies were drafted and training was developed.

In addition to hospital leaders, anyone a patient would come in contact with was involved in the training, McGuire said, adding that it was about more than just a tutorial. It was about “eye-opening” conversations.

Wilch agreed, saying that face-to-face conversations with the LGBT community were essential.

“We could talk freely about the things we have encountered and then come up with ways, together, to handle it differently,” she said.

Overall, the HRC reports the number of American hospitals striving to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients equally and respectfully is on the rise.

This year’s survey found a 40 percent increase in rated facilities.

Last year, IU Health BMH was short a few policy additions for the leadership HRC designation, but was still recognized for its efforts.

Wilch said she was not surprised the hospital “hit all of the marks” this year.

“They have become, essentially, one of the leading hospitals in the country, because it really started with them,” she said. “They were the ones who reached out to us and said ‘How can we make this better? How can we do the right thing?’”

Haley said he believed the training and policies developed at IU Health BMH will be used “across IU Health.”

IU Health BMH has also set out to look at other ways to expand their “best practices” when it comes to diversity, McGuire said. The hospital has been hosting Palettes of Diversity events, which have celebrated not only the LGBT community, but other cultures.

“We are making sure we are hard-wiring an environment recognizing and supporting diversity for all who come here,” Haley said.

McGuire agreed.

“It’s about relationships and dignity and respect,” she said. “It is uniqueness that each of us brings that makes us stronger as a community.”

And, McGuire would tell you, as a hospital.

Topics: unity, diversity, nursing, health, inclusion, hospital, care, community, LGBT

Silicon Valley Boot Camp Aims to Boost Diversity

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 @ 11:48 AM

By Amy Standen via NPR

If there is a founding ethos in the world of high-tech startups, it's this: The idea is everything. Facebook's initial public offering might have seemed like the perfect illustration. A simple concept, conceived by a college student, became a $100 billion empire in just 8 years.

But if you look around California's Silicon Valley, ideas all seem to be coming from the same kinds of people. By a recent estimate, 1 percent of technology entrepreneurs are black. Only 8 percent of tech companies are founded by women. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg isn't just a model of success in the Valley; he's a blueprint.

A new three-week boot camp for entrepreneurs is aimed at adding more diversity to Silicon Valley's startup scene.diversity

Making Their Pitch In Silicon Valley

The New Media Entrepreneurship boot camp trains startup hopefuls to focus their business ideas and present them to investors. Some recent participants:

Seizing Opportunities, From An Early Age

It may be safe to say that some people are just born entrepreneurs. Take Chris Lyons of Johns Creek, Ga., outside Atlanta. When he was 12, he started mowing lawns.

"I'd take my mom's trash can and I would take my lawn mower," he says. "And I would push my lawn mower up and down the hill with one hand, and carry the rolling trash can for the other. I had over 30 lawns in my neighborhood. Then I bought a John Deere tractor."

Someone like that isn't going to stay in John's Creek forever. By the time he was 25, Lyons had set his sights on Silicon Valley.

"There's no other choice," he says. "Like, I want to be in an area that nurtures strong-willed, forward-thinking individuals. And there's no better place than Silicon Valley or San Francisco."

The thing is, when you look at Silicon Valley, especially at people who are starting businesses, they don't typically look like Chris Lyons, who is black.

And that is the whole point of the three-week boot camp for startups called NewMe, for New Media Entrepreneurship.

Reporting To Camp

On the first day of the camp, Lyons is sitting in the living room of a San Francisco townhouse, along with six other entrepreneurs — all women or African-Americans, most of them in their early 20s.

NewME director Angela Benton presents them with bags of swag — sponsor-donated items like shirts, headphones and mobile tablets.

Everyone here came with business ideas. Lyons' company is called PictureMenu, which he hopes will eliminate paper menus.

He's thinking big.

"We're trying to make this a worldwide mobile application," Lyons says.

The idea behind the boot camp is that when it attracts people like Lyons to the area, it also helps nudge Silicon Valley toward diversity.

And that, says venture capitalist and consultant Freada Kapor Klein, is something the Valley badly needs.

"This isn't about being bigots, this isn't about who's mean-spirited and who's enlightened," she says. "This is about how our brains are wired.

Klein says it's human nature: People tend to help people who look like them and who come from similar backgrounds. It's largely subconscious.

"We're not even aware of that hurdle that we've put in the place of a different kind of entrepreneur," she says.

Klein sees the NewME program as a two-way street because without diversity, the industry — and consumers — are missing out.

"If we've got a very insular world, then the kinds of companies that are created — most scratch the itch of a particular set of people and ignore everyone else," she says. "And I think that's the real loss for everybody."

Trouble With The Pipeline

One reason Silicon Valley is so homogenous is what's called the pipeline issue. There just aren't a lot of women, blacks and Latinos enrolling in science and engineering programs.

But there are subtler forces at work, too.

"No one's gonna say, 'I'm not gonna fund you cause you're black,' " says Chris Bennett, a NewME alum who is now a working entrepreneur. "No one's dumb enough to say that. But everyone will tell you that there is a bias."

Working with attorney Nnena Ukuku, Bennett started a Bay Area group called Black Founders.

"I think for some people it's sort of like a chicken-and-egg issue," Ukuku says.

"They've never seen a successful black entrepreneur, so it's hard for them to envision it. But then, they do exist ... it's just a mess."

Removing Self-Imposed Roadblocks

It's a mess because tangled up in all of this are roadblocks that women and people of color often put in front of themselves.

Take, for example, NewME participants Rachel Brooks and Amanda McClure. One day I asked them why instead of NewME, they hadn't applied to a different, more established program, one that wasn't based on race or gender.

And when I asked them this, they seemed kind of stumped.

"I don't know, maybe it just felt a little out of reach," Brooks says.

"Definitely," McClure agrees.

"Maybe that's what it was," Brooks says.

"It wasn't in my realm of conception, you know?" McClure adds.

"That's a much deeper issue," says Ukuku, with a sigh and a laugh.

She's laughing, she says, because she hears this all the time. It's the mindset, Ukuku says, that people have to be brilliant, at the top of their game, to even take a stab at Silicon Valley success.

"And the people that sort of have that tendency to say that tend to be women and minorities," she says. "Whereas I'll talk to some of my friends who I adore, who don't fit into one of those two buckets, and they'll say: 'I got an idea. I'm going for it.' "

Ukuku says she recognizes this confidence because she's seen it among her own relatives back in Nigeria.

"They're the majority in that culture," she says. "There's just an assumption that you will, like — why would you not succeed?"

Campers Pay A Visit To Google

That confidence of belonging is exactly what the NewME participants are trying to cultivate on the program's second day.

They're at the Google headquarters in Mountain View. And guess what? It's exactly the dot-com fantasy everyone imagined it would be. Lyons sounds giddy.

"I just walked outside, and they're playing pool and drinking coffee," he says. "And I saw a yoga session when we walked in here."

But Lyons is nervous, too. Tonight is a bit of an initiation: An American Idol-style pitch session.

At the event, the emcee is Navarrow Wright, an established entrepreneur in the Valley.

"What we're going to do tonight is give the NewME founders an opportunity to pitch their companies for the first time in public," he says. "They will have two minutes to pitch their startup, and we will each have one minute to give feedback."

Making A Pitch To Investors

When it's his turn, Lyons walks up to the lectern and flashes a winning smile at the audience.

"How's everyone doing today? Good, good. Well my name is Chris Lyons and I am the founder and CEO of PictureMenu."

He starts out pretty strong.

"And what we do is we allow any restaurant the opportunity to transform your boring paper menu into a beautiful mobile application for your smartphone, for free."

But after that, things get a little muddy, as Lyons compares the service to the way you can upgrade a car. After he wraps up, the critique begins. One of the judges is Chris Genteel, Google's development manager for global diversity.

"It was a great first half of the pitch and the second half kind of went off the rails," he says.

As Genteel goes on, Lyons' face falls a bit.

"I think you gave me a lot of ideas in the beginning," Genteel says. "And then confused me with a lot of kind of features."

For Lyons and the others, it's just a starting point. They've got three months of training ahead of them. And their pitches are all going to need some work.

Topics: unity, together, diversity, education, community, career

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