It is baffling that in an era that has seen such a revolution in new technology there is so little innovative thought about how to best manage a workforce.
One might have thought that Silicon Valley, the home of new technology, also would become a testing ground for innovation with respect to managing employees but that has not occurred. In fact, Silicon Valley appears intent on exploiting young workers by essentially forcing them to spend 10 to 12 hours a day or more at the office, ignoring the cumulative mental and physical health damage of this kind of lifestyle.
Some employers offer free massages, yoga and gyms but that is not the same thing as offering a reasonable work schedule that permits a healthy work/life balance. Presumably, when these young people “grow up” and decide to have families they will be encouraged to move on. But even that is being delayed as some Silicon Valley employers offer female employees a free benefit to harvest and freeze their eggs to delay childbirth.
And, of course, Silicon Valley collectively could be called one of the most discriminatory employers in America; its workforce consists disproportionately of young white men.
A former top executive with Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw of Canada, Andrew Faas, 65, has written a new book on workplace bullying called, The Bully’s Trap, in which he shares “lessons on leadership and workplace mental health.” Whether or not the book has any merit, Faas is at least offering a manager’s perspective on the problem of workplace bullying and abuse. There is no equivalent to Faas in the United States, where workplace bullying is largely tolerated despite overwhelming research showing that workplace abuse costs employers and society billions in lost productivity, higher health care costs and needless litigation.
.In a press release, Faas states that he “was accused of being a bully at times, and I learned the hard way the impact this had on colleagues … This year we have seen countless examples that workplace bullying is becoming an epidemic in major corporations if not addressed and dealt with.”
Faas, 65, also has donated $1 million to assist Canada’s leading hospital for mental health the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, to develop new educational programs to create psychologically healthier workplaces. He said that proceeds from his book will go to his foundation for mental health initiatives.
Unfortunately, Faas became involved in a controversy last year when a writing collaboration broke down with American author, Barbara Coloroso, author of the 2001 book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander. Both parties filed lawsuits. Coloroso accused Faas of committing “blatant acts of plagiarism and copyright infringement” from sources including Wikipedia. I’ll be curious to see if my book, Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace, makes an appearance!