Vulnerability - to exploit or not to exploit that is the question?
I pose this question after seeing the news report this week in The Guardian regarding DPD, the courier company and its treatment of staff.
First of all, lets consider the term Vulnerability. What does this mean to you? Who would you consider as vulnerable? The English Oxford Dictionary refers to Vulnerable as 'that may be hurt, wounded or injured, unprotected, exposed to danger, attack or criticism'.
Does this apply to you do you think or maybe members of staff that you manage? What can put you into a state of vulnerability?
Well, age can make you vulnerable by virture of being too young or too old. Gender, race, disability all can pose as a vulnerability factor. Ever walked into an unfamiliar place and been the only female, black person or person in a wheelchair? Remember the feelings this created all stemming from a sense of vulnerability?Of course, in this scenario once you had stayed a while and chatted to others you felt better and moved on from those not very nice feelings of exposure. But what about those situations that you cannot simply walk away from or that become more negative the longer you remain in that scenario?
And that is where the staff at DPD found themselves. With no protection as employees and incredibly vulnerable regardless of their circumstances or situation. Don Lane died having deliberately missed vital medical appointments for a kidney condition linked to his Diabetes. And why did he make that decision to risk his health and go to work? Because, if he didn't go to work he ran the risk of being fined £150.00 per day.
I wonder how many more staff went to work and actually weren't in a fit state to function properly due to mental health, long term health conditions and other ailments that afflict even the fittest of us at some point in our lives for the sake of £150.00? Not an insignificant sum to many household budgets!
Fortunately, for some of us we have had the experience of working in a supportive environment that recognised that whilst an employee maybe ill this was not a reflection on their overall performance or validity as a respected member of staff in the long term.
How many women for instance have suffered with postnatal depression and found it difficult to function at work? And yet, with the help and support of their managers or boss at their most vulnerable time have carried on to have successful careers and been a key part of their employers success.
I could list numerous factors that cause vulnerability in an employee's working life at some point in time. You get the gist. My point is that creating a supporting and valuing environment in your organisation as a boss or manager is paramount. It relies on good HR frameworks and competent and confident leaders to put them into practice in the right way.
It beggars belief that leaders and managers in an organisation such as DPD thought that their HR processes were actually acceptable in this day and age! I wonder what their staff retention is like?
If you read this and start to feel that you need to do something about how you and your business supports staff because you have noticed they keep leaving BIG TIP contact me. Lets discuss if I can help you.
Jane Brookes 07767702215