In a desperate attempt to avoid the traditional Halloween-related content for this month’s newsletter, I researched what else October is known for. It has been a fascinating learning journey; for example, did you know October has no fewer than four culinary observances alone? Thank goodness pizza got its own month - we may never have acknowledged its existence otherwise. 

Beyond food-based celebrations, October also works to shed light on some very important health issues - breast cancer, Rett Syndrome, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, spina bifida, and lupus, just to name a few. Beyond physical health, October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month, focusing on the challenges kids face in dealing with bullies face to face and online. October also plays host to Spirit Day, a fantastic offshoot of National Bullying Prevention Month focused on LGBTQ youth. 

With critical focus on improving DEI and reducing toxicity in the workplace, calling attention to bullying and mental health should be on all of our radars. Work can be a truly cruel environment, and employees are no longer keeping quiet about the challenges. Toxicity comes in many forms, whether it’s abuse, microaggressions, a horrible leader, or unrealistic expectations about timelines and productivity. And all of this has a real impact on retention, physical health, and emotional wellbeing. 

So while most of us focus on the fun side of scary - with haunted houses, jump scares, and clever costumes- there are many who are coping with things that are truly terrifying - loved ones dying of stress-related illnesses, critical health challenges, and the ongoing fatigue of seemingly endless uncertainty. 

The frustrating part about all of this is that it doesn’t take much to reduce workplace toxicity. For example, there’s the concept of “respectful inquiry” whereby leaders ask employees questions and listen - truly listen! - to their answers. Treating others with respect and dignity isn’t hard, and speaking up when coworkers are marginalized simply means finding your voice. And this is the spirit we should both exemplify and embrace.

With warm regards,

— Mark
Founder/Managing Principal/Toxicity Avenger, IA

Voice of HR

How to Eat an Elephant

Is your team overwhelmed by the number of projects you're expected to complete? IA Principal Christina Felty writes sometimes it's simply a matter of how you approach the work. 

Where You Can Find Us

IA always appreciates the opportunity to take part in industry events. Here are some that are coming up in the next few months:

  • December 7, 2021: Mary Faulkner will participate in the upcoming Recruiter Nation Live event. Take a moment to learn more and register today!

  • January 2022: The IA team will be back with HR Executive Magazine to present a webinar centered around the continued conversation about skills - upskilling, reskilling, who owns it, what it means to work, etc. Stay tuned for more information!

  • March 2022: It’s never too early to plan to join IA-ers for the 2022 Hacking HR Global Online Conference! Be sure to register and plan your agenda today

On Our Radar

We read through all the headlines so you don’t have to. Well, you can read them if you really want to, but the team found a few this past month that they thought you’d find interesting:

  • Another day, another story about employees struggling to find support. The NY Times shares some very human stories about what happens when systems, process, and leadership fail on an organization-wide scale.

  • Returning to the office often means meeting your coworkers in real life for the first time - and surprises abound. Employees are discovering that video conference calls don’t always tell you the full story about a person, but it may lead to the compliment of “tall Zoom energy,” as described in this story from Slate.

  • And finally, from the “well, this is awkward” file…sometimes our need to find clever labels for things can backfire, as evidenced in this article from Metro. Let’s just say, making an acronym from the words Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday may not have been a good idea.

About IA

As trusted advisors to senior leaders, IA supports strategic initiatives that transform the way organizations work.

Our seasoned team of professionals apply a revolutionary eye, deep domain experience, and flexible tools to accelerate the achievement of even the most ambitious goals. With a cross-functional, strategic perspective, we thrive on big, messy problems. Whether large or small, public or private, domestic or international, it’s our job to support leaders and their teams in achieving outcomes that are truly unique to their culture and objectives.

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