Hello PPMA members and friends

The second in our series of ‘taster’ blog posts from some of the speakers at #PPMAHR24 is from Stella Chandler is Director at Focal Point – specialists in managing and preventing inappropriate behaviour at work. Her session, which is on Friday 26th April between 11:00 to 11:45 am, is about the effects of banter in the workplace. Below is a small taster of what she’ll be covering in her session.

I am delighted to be speaking at this year’s conference. Banter is a topic that is seldom discussed and yet regularly leads to shocking headlines about inappropriate behaviour and associated resignations

At Focal Point we conducted a survey amongst over 700 people about the effects of banter at work and the results were shocking.

97% of respondents said they had been made to feel uncomfortable by banter at some point. 40% of people said when banter was aimed at them it affected how they felt about themselves and, critically, people made to feel uncomfortable about banter felt it had impacted their ability to speak to their manager about their mental health.

These stats are bad enough, but what we hadn’t expected and what is so important for our HR community to address is that HR was highlighted as not doing enough to address banter in their organisations and in some cases, that they were actually responsible for perpetuating inappropriate banter and behaviour. Free text comments which respondents gave included

  • HR often make it worse
  • I’m not sure what HR actually do; I feel I am at risk of losing my job if I make a fuss
  • A senior manager did not know where to draw the line, but you couldn’t do anything because he was friends with the HR Director

While this is uncomfortable feedback for HR teams everywhere, it is vital we hold a mirror up to ourselves and ensure we get our own house in order, if we are to in any way tackle the wider issue across our organisations

I will be discussing how, as HR professionals, we can go beyond the policies and the set of values displayed on our websites, to ensure the day-to-day culture in our teams is respectful and inclusive – while still maintaining the fun. And critically that we are role modelling within our own teams.

While this is not an easy area to navigate, it is possible to bring clarity through discussion and use of practical tools, to keep banter the right side of the line.

I look forward to seeing you

Stella Chandler is Director at Focal Point – specialists in managing and preventing inappropriate behaviour at work.

If you’ve not yet booked to attend Stella’s session or the wider conference then check out our website for more information.