Fri. Jan 15th, 2021

Deloitte boss warns against ‘gutless’ responses to bullying

Deloitte boss warns against ‘gutless’ responses to bullying

“In an organisation of 9300 people, you’re always going to have 5 per cent that are not particularly happy … I don’t have a problem with anybody asking any question about anything or frankly being critical of anything that I do or we do, but do it in the right way,” he said.

Richard Deutsch is proactive about bullying complaints: “Absolutely we’ve had to move [partners] on that have not lived our values”. Peter Braig

“But do it with respect, do it with a point of view on how things could be better. And if an organisation has got multiple channels to raise concerns and issues then use those channels … [instead of] disrespectful ways of raising concerns that I don’t think are appropriate.”

Mr Deutsch said in the world of social media, people increasingly did not “respect the boundaries of an organisation” and thought it was “OK to go and talk about confidential stuff outside” the workplace.

“I would say that the [social media] platforms, and frankly the media as well, seem to grapple onto the voice of one or two without taking the time to understand what the organisation or the individual is trying to drive, and I think it’s lazy.”

His words come after Deloitte saw an “upward trend” in harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination complaints, according to an email to staff from Deloitte’s Asia Pacific chief executive Cindy Hook in February.

They also follow an anonymous letter purporting to be from a group of partners sent to the firm’s global executive last year, accusing its Australian management of a worsening workplace culture.

More recently, a junior staffer aired his grievances about the firm’s COVID-19 pay cuts in a letter to his manager – which followed official protocols for making complaints – but it later went viral online after it was leaked on social media site Reddit.

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Mr Deutsch is also currently facing allegations of bullying and intimidation in the Federal Court, brought by a partner in the firm’s Brisbane office.

He said a further reason it was unfair to air work complaints online was the fact that sanctions against employees who had engaged in bullying or harassment were usually kept private, but public discussion over the misconduct often missed the fact they were penalised for it.

“[So] people don’t see that you’ve taken action and so people can be quite critical when they don’t actually realise what’s been going on behind the scenes to take action,” he said.

Mr Deutsch also offered a word of caution to people considering airing their grievances about colleagues or employers online, saying that once published it was there for good.

“One of the first things that we do now when we look for new graduates is look at what they do on their social media,” he said.

Published at Sun, 29 Nov 2020 05:27:00 +0000

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