London-based HiBob, a cloud-based benefits platform is describing itself as “the HR platform bringing transparency to business management” as it launches “Your Voice,” a feature that allows employees to anonymously report workplace harassment.
“We want to provide a tool that makes reporting both easy and safe for victims, while enabling businesses to ensure the safety and happiness of their employees,” said Ronni Zehavi, HiBob’s CEO. Like many in HR, he believes the rise of the #MeToo movement is pressuring employers to put channels in place so workers can report misbehavior with minimal risk to themselves.
By clicking a button, Your Voice directs HiBob users to send a secure, encrypted email to a designated company representative. The parties can then carry on an anonymous email conversation without either one revealing their identity.
Ultimately, that “designated person” should be someone who’s ‘uniquely suited’ to be the initial contact point, a HiBob spokeswoman told the HCM Technology Report. “Since this harassment is at its core an HR issue, we envision a well-trained, highly qualified HR professional as being the Your Voice gatekeeper,” she said.
How Your Voice Works
Your Voice is essentially a three-step process.
- First, it helps employees “to get clear, unambiguous answers regarding a specific organization’s policy and guidelines,” the spokesperson said. She noted that “there tends to be a lot of gray area when it comes to harassment in the workplace.”
- Once the employee is clear on where they stand, Your Voice allows them to report incidents of misconduct they’ve either experienced or witnessed.
- Finally, once “actionable evidence that a person has either been victimized by or witnessed sexual harassment” has been confirmed, the employer can take action.
HiBob developed Your Voice with Cassiopeia, an Israeli-based technology firm that develops products to enable employees to report sexual harassment or consult anonymously with an HR manager regarding workplace misconduct.
According to the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of Americans say men getting away with workplace sexual harassment is a major problem. Some 46 percent say the same thing about women’s complaints not being believed.
While acknowledging that “there’s always the possibility of false accusations being made,” HiBob’s spokesperson said Your Voice addresses a different problem: Seventy percent of actual incidents of sexual harassment go unreported. “In essence, Your Voice has a built-in vetting process, which means that relevant departments and personnel will only get involved if they’re required to do so,” she said.
This stands in marked contrast to some tools we’ve heard described that automatically route anonymous complaints to company leaders outside HR, thereby compromising the vetting process. Organizational specialists tell us such shotgun-blast approaches increase the damage done by false accusations and could in the long run hurt an organization’s efforts to combat harassment.
Your Voice fits with HiBob’s overall approach to HR tools. Since launching in 2016, its platform has emphasized employee engagement even as it provided the usual suite of tools covering tasks such as onboarding, reporting and time and attendance. TechCrunch describes the company’s approach as “bottom up” and notes how the platform allows workers to create interest groups as a way to strengthen workplace culture
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