Since this month is Work Shield’s three-year anniversary, I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently reflecting on its beginning and what started as this spark of an idea that at its crux had the potential to transform workplace cultures with a first-of-its-kind solution. Work Shield was born out of Jared’s idea to provide employers with an immediate and impartial platform that allowed their employees to safely voice workplace harassment and discrimination issues while providing them peace of mind that issues would be investigated and resolved efficiently to mitigate risk. Work Shield’s vision remains the same today as it was three years ago: foster positive and open workplace cultures comprised of integrity and trust.
Our vision was something I could get behind immediately because early in my professional life I witnessed unfortunate situations in which employers did not handle workplace harassment and discrimination incidents with integrity, let alone trust. The effects of mishandling this workplace misconduct left the employers with potential liability and the impacted employees without a voice to be heard. Not only did the outcomes negatively affect employee morale, productivity, and retention, but also thwarted the trajectory of their professional careers. These were truly lose-lose scenarios.
The last three years have been an exhilarating flurry of innovation and execution on our goals. And while the business case for Work Shield is undeniably evident in the ROI we provide to our client partners, what keeps me intrinsically motivated to continue full steam ahead are the individual employees we impact within the cultures of all our client partners. It is the manifestation of our vision put into action.
What do workplace cultures comprised of integrity and trust look like? Based on some of our own client partners’ experiences with Work Shield’s solution, they look like this:
Bystanders Become Upstanders
While statistics point to the “bystander effect” in many workplace harassment and discrimination incidents, employees on Work Shield’s platform who witnessed another coworker subjected to workplace misconduct felt empowered to speak up because they had an impartial platform to make the reports without fear of retaliation. In these cases, the bystanders turned into upstanders, empowering not just the victim of the workplace misconduct to speak up, but for others to speak up and step up on their behalf as well.
Deescalate Toxic Behavior
Employees reported workplace harassment that took place during a remote online meeting. After Work Shield’s involvement regarding the misconduct that occurred in the initial meeting, during a subsequent online meeting, employees felt empowered to speak up against similar employee misconduct as it occurred and before it could escalate further. When employees are empowered to use their voices to address workplace harassment and discrimination from happening in real time, employees are heard and the organization’s culture is protected.
Proactively Address Toxicity to Improve Culture
Based on one of our client’s incident data, our client learned that a larger percentage of their incidents were being reported from a particular location. The company was able to respond proactively to address the needs of that location by meeting with management and employees and provide prevention training. Employees witnessed their employer taking the matter seriously and addressing their concerns proactively, increasing the trust and integrity between our client and their employees.
To me, these situations are win-win scenarios for everyone involved. For our client partners, they have peace of mind that their employees have an impartial platform to voice harassment and discrimination claims, knowing they will be investigated and resolved effectively to mitigate risk. Employees also have peace of mind that their voices will be heard when they make reports, and that the reports will be investigated and resolved without fear of retaliation.
By partnering with Work Shield, employers are ensuring that their employees can bring their full selves to work, thereby protecting open and positive workplace cultures. I can’t help but think about the examples above, and how differently the outcomes could have been for both the employers and the employees had Work Shield not been in place in their organizations.
One of Work Shield’s core team values is winning. We are a driven team who works hard to execute on our vision, and we enjoy celebrating our victories. On a personal level, the greatest wins for me are onboarding a new client, because I know that upon onboarding Work Shield’s platform, our new client partner has also chosen to “win,” not only for themselves, but also for their employees and culture as well.
About Jennifer PopeJennifer is the Co-Founder of Work Shield, the only start-to-finish workplace harassment and discrimination reporting, investigation and resolution solution that protects employees, employers and cultures at the same time. Jennifer’s background as an attorney fueled her desire to help others. She leverages her experiences from Hewitt Associates, Thompson & Knight, and SMU’s Dedman School of Law to help employers shift the paradigm related to workplace harassment to ensure that everyone has a voice.
Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.