Episode Summary

There’s a common misconception that workplace harassment reports are a business liability. But according to LeBaron Meyers, President of NotMe Solutions, it’s the opposite. The report is the opportunity. The lack of report, and waiting until the problem escalates, is the liability. 

That’s why NotMe Solutions created a platform that gives employees the tools to safely and anonymously report workplace harassment and gives owners the opportunity to capture the issue before it escalates. 

If you want to create a better workplace environment for your employees, give them a platform where they can be heard.

Do your employees feel safe speaking up? 

It’s time to stop avoiding the topic of workplace harassment and misconduct in restaurants. Abusive environments will not prosper or attract employees. If you really want to improve your culture and employee retention you need to do two critical things: 

  1. Listen to your employees
  2. Encourage them to speak up when harassment occurs

Highlights from LeBaron:

  • Businesses who put their employees first will thrive 
  • Most workplace harassment issues take 90 days to escalate
  • Reporting & addressing issues early de-escalates the issue 
  • Many people wait too long to speak up or address an issue
  • Employee reports give management an opportunity to step-up
  • Acknowledge and respect employees who speak up
  • Happy employees create happy customers 
  • NotMe is a platform that provides employees with a safe place to report and interact with management anonymously

Guest-At-A-Glance

🍽 Name: LeBaron Meyers

🍽 What she does: She’s the president and chief business officer of NotMe Solutions.

🍽 Company: NotMe Solutions

🍽 Key Quote: “Your humans are what makes your business work. Technology is critical, but good luck having any business that’s successful if the only thing that’s good is your technology.”

🍽 Where to find LeBaron: LinkedIn

Key Insights

🌶️ A toxic workplace is the biggest reason why employees leave organizations. Employees leave bad managers, not companies. That’s why we need to take better care of our employees. LeBaron explains, “To your point about the labor crisis, it’s been very interesting to me when I’ve approached organizations, including one head of a restaurant organization. The response was, ‘I don’t have time for this right now because our biggest focus is the labor shortage.’ And I took a deep breath, and I very respectfully responded that the reality is that, across all industries, the number one reason for the great resignation, as it was called, is a toxic workplace.”

🌶️ Reporting an issue early de-escalates it. Problems don’t escalate overnight. In fact, most issues take days to escalate, which is why tackling them as soon as possible is essential. LeBaron explains, “I was saying that most issues don’t escalate from 0 to 60 in a day. They usually do this slow rise, and so we have an opportunity to interrupt the escalation if we capture it earlier. But if people aren’t speaking up until it’s ‘so bad,’ then you’re missing that opportunity. And therein lies the whole flip of the conversation.”

🌶️ The restaurant industry has a massive opportunity and responsibility to set the bar high for employee care. LeBaron and Jen discuss why prioritizing employee care is essential within the restaurant space. LeBaron says, “The restaurant industry is the starting point for so many people who either stay in this industry or go somewhere else. And so this is their first introduction to what is normal, how to be treated, and how to feel in their workplace. And that, to me, is a massive opportunity and responsibility. […] So many people in their earliest moments are being hit time and time again with inappropriate things that they are taught; you are just supposed to learn to maneuver around them, and this is just how it is.”

Episode Highlights

The sooner you address the issue the better 

Deal with employee issues as soon as they arise. LeBaron says, “The reality is that the later any company, restaurant, or organization finds out about an issue, the more damage has been done, and it’s going to take more time, more energy, and cost more. So I feel like we’re avoiding the topics of misconduct until we have to deal with them, and by then, it’s this huge fire.”

NotMe Solutions is a platform that empowers employees

NotMe Solutions has a goal to make workplaces safe for everyone. LeBaron explains, “They can do it anonymously and in a minute. So that moment when you hear somebody say, ‘Oh man, he keeps bullying her in particular. I don’t know what his problem is with her. And she’s new. She’s probably not going to speak up. I’m just going to say something.’ That minute you took just to make that report and put it in, you didn’t put yourself at risk. You didn’t use your name. And you’re doing it at the earliest point. This isn’t necessarily launching some massive investigation. You don’t know what’s happening that way. And I will say one of the questions in our app is, ‘What is your desired outcome?’ Over 90% of the answers — I think it’s closer to like 95–96% — are that they want the behavior to stop.”

Always have a respectful exchange

The giving and taking of feedback between the employer and employees can be done with respect. LeBaron shares an example, “One of our clients said, ‘What I love is that I’m sitting at a gate at the airport. Somebody makes a report. I can read it in 30 seconds from my phone and just respond, even if they report anonymously, and say, ‘Hey, thanks for speaking up, we really want to get to the bottom of this, and I want to know more.’ Have a respectful exchange. And that moment totally de-escalates it. It’s responsiveness with respect and humanity at an early stage.”

Happy employees create happy customers

If you want your employees to treat your clients well, start treating your employees better. LeBaron says, “There was some book on airlines where Southwest became uniquely known because while everyone else said, ‘We put the clients first,’ Southwest was like, ‘We put our employees first.’ And the satisfaction rate and everything else boomed because it’s a trickle-down. So you take care of your employees, and they take care of your clients, and you can tell when someone’s unhappy.”

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