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Trends and Insight

#TimeTo - The Effects on Small Business

Gavin Hay, CEO of Cherry Cherry discusses #MeToo and the ripple effect its had on the ad industry

#TimeTo - The Effects on Small Business

#TimeTo has just launched.

This initiative has been created through a unique collaboration between the Advertising Association, NABS and WACL, and is backed by ISBA and the IPA. 

That is awesome. 

Cherry Cherry is a proud supporter of this.

It will help focus what is happening within large organisations, but can small businesses survive it?

For a small business, what exactly are the tell-tale signs of sexual harassment in the workplace beyond the victim? 

What is the ripple effect on small business?

To any of those Company Directors, Managers and workplace Associates who are sitting on the fence wondering whether they should take action where they see it occurring in the work place, do not sit back; even though you feel it may be the duty of the victim to report it.  Behind even one action of inappropriate behaviour there may be many more lurking. It may be repeated behaviour; it may be systematic. This may lead to the downfall of your company.

You may have thought and been held back by a fear of:

  • The financial damage – legal fees, loss of a key member of staff.
  • The psychological damage – on the staff who wish not to accept or believe, or staff simply there witnessing.
  • The reputational damage – to the clients who may wish not to accept, believe or be associated.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the damage to those who have experienced it first hand.

Let’s speak simply:

Beyond the morality, beyond the financial hardship on a small company, ignoring the signs will cost much more in the long term.

Putting your head in the sand will only allow waves of dishonesty, gossip and a breakdown in honest communication between colleagues and their managers. This will ultimately shut down a company’s possibilities, potential and growth.

Who will respect a company where they allow this behaviour to continue unchallenged?
Who will want to work with a company where there is even a whiff of this behaviour?

So what are the simple telltale signs?

Watch out for the top five: 

  1. Inappropriate comments - a highly sexualised workplace
  2. People hired for looks not talent.
  3. People being hired with skill sets not required or not being utilized.
  4. People not happy to be working after hours, especially without chaperones.
  5. Many people resigning after short periods in the workplace.

My advice is ask yourself these few questions:

  • Do you really care about your staff?
  • Do you want to have sleepless nights?
  • Do you want to lose valuable staff whom you have trained?
  • Do you want to be a risk of being “in collusion” should a case be taken to a criminal court?

You have a moral and legal duty to others in the company, and they need you to act sooner rather than later. It may be costly to face it head on, but to avoid it will inevitably end up being so much more expensive and damaging to all involved.  Remember, as Company Director we all agree to take on this duty of care to our employees. 

Listen to your staff, and don’t stay silent.  In the long term, staying silent is a cost you can never afford.


Gavin Hay is CEO of Cherry Cherry

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