Did you know that there is such a thing as OK Day? Established in 2011, OK Day is held on March 23rd each year. I began to wonder. What is OK Day? When is OK good enough? A couple comes back from their honeymoon and proudly announces that the trip of their dreams was OK. How was the meal at the fancy restaurant? OK. How was the Broadway Show? OK.
I submit that it is not good enough to report that employee engagement, morale, and training is OK. Rather, wouldn’t you want an employee, when asked about the job, to respond that “it is great!”
Many people have asked me why I decided to launch DGN Workplace Initiatives. Afterall, they know that I love working with my colleagues at The Wagner Law Group and am very proud of what we have accomplished. I am proud to share that I am still a partner with The Wagner Law Group. Marcia Wagner, the Managing Partner, and I continue to enjoy tremendous mutual respect. She believes wholeheartedly in DGN Workplace Initiatives and is fully supportive of what we will accomplish.
Why launch DGN Workplace Initiatives? That is why we are talking about OK Day. For far too long, many options for training and coaching are just “OK.” There is a need for organizations that provide the resources for employers to thrive, and, where employers and employees can proudly proclaim that their organization is a great place to work.
Training and coaching that is not specifically tailored to the organization and its employees unnecessarily leads to a much greater chance of litigation. There are many who believe that neither party wins when an employment law case goes to trial. A colleague and dear friend named Paul McDonough referred to a trial as “a failed mediation.” I didn’t fully appreciate the significance at the time. But he was right. When an employment law case proceeds to trial, both sides lose. I am going to take it one step further. When a claim of harassment or discrimination is brought, both sides lose, even if the case never proceeds to trial. For the moment, let’s put aside whether there was harassment or discrimination.
Most times the employee that brought the case has left the job. That means that the employee may be out of work, or at best, is facing the pressure of starting a new job. The employee has likely spent several years litigating this matter. That means living life in a glass house and gambling that a judge and jury find that something illegal happened and that there were damages. That amounts to having little or no control over the final outcome. This is no way to live.
It is no better for the employer. To begin with, the employer will likely have lost one or more good employees. This can create a buzz that stymies employee engagement and morale. The publicity can also harm morale. And then there is the cost of litigation. A single employee can cost several hundred thousand in defense fees. The costs will be much higher if the judge and jury find that the employee’s legal rights were violated.
One trap that employers often step in when there is litigation is that they don’t try to identify why the case was brought in the first place. Why did the employee believe that there was sexual harassment? Did a manager miss a sign? What could the company have done differently? Was the training adequate? What is the real perception that employees have of managers? Of leadership?
DGN Workplace Initiatives is devoted to helping companies minimize the risk of claims while at the same time, promote an engaged, motivated, and dedicated workforce. My vision is to truly help employers and talent thrive, and that is why I launched this company.