Does your workplace need a "hugging policy"? That's the suggestion being made following the outcome of an investigation into the alleged conduct of former CEO of Ted Baker. Whilst details of any findings that have been made about the conduct of the CEO have not been made public, the report recommends retraining all staff on HR policies and acceptable workplace conduct.
Speaking as someone who regularly delivers training on this subject I am constantly surprised at the different standards people have. One persons workplace hug can be hugely embarrassing and a complete no no, another's can be part of an accepted culture. There are also massive differences of views on subjects such as openly discussing personal issues, discussing the actions of co-workers and even airing opinions on the news. Some will say that we risk workplace blandness - an environment were no-one can air an opinion on anything or tell a joke. However, some messages are clear to me from the training I deliver. Firstly, we are a long way from workplace blandness. Breathtakingly inappropriate conduct and comments are not uncommon in workplaces. Secondly, in the past employees have tended not to report these issues to HR or line management. Thirdly, that is changing.
The risks are out there - unwelcome publicity, HR being swamped by formal complaints, the risk of sexual and other harassment complaints to Employment Tribunals, high staff turnover. Is now the time to take a close look at these issues in your organisation?
Ted Baker is bolstering its HR policies to ensure acceptable workplace conduct following an investigation into “forced hugging” and other allegations of inappropriate behaviour by its founder.