When I quit my job in HR and dreamed of being a writer and speaker, I never thought that I would keynote a conference about workplace harassment with Gretchen Carlson in New York City on January 29, 2018.
My dreams were a little more traditional. I hoped to find work as an advice columnist for a major media outlet. I wanted to use my expertise to help job seekers find employment and support employees who had on-the-job difficulties.
Ten years after leaving HR, I never got that big-time media job. And I’ve learned that women and people of color continue to face extraordinary hurdles in the modern workforce. You think things would be different. We’re in a talent-driven economy and face labor shortages in all aspects of the market, and, yet, managers and supervisors still harass workers like it’s the early twentieth century.
What’s worse is that HR fails to protect the interests of employees across all industries and job categories. When a complaint comes to light, HR is both disinterested and disempowered. When challenged to do better, many human resources professionals will say things like, “I promise you that we listen to our employees, Laurie, but I can’t comment due to personnel policy and privacy laws.”
It’s such total bullshit. It breaks my heart.
So, back to where we started: I’m keynoting TLNT’s Workplace Harassment Summit on January 28, 2018, with Gretchen Carlson. I’m not interested in blaming HR or vilifying men in positions of power because, honestly, that’s too easy. I hope to start a conversation on how HR can redeem itself and address harassment complaints differently in 2018.
Since you work in HR, I’d love to have you there. Can you get yourself to New York City on January 29? Win a free ticket by emailing me with an answer to the following question:
Even though HR isn’t always the most powerful or influential department, what’s one thing HR can do to protect workers from harassment and abuse?
Send your email to