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March 23, 2006

Domestic Violence – Expensive for your Employer?

So we finally we have a business case against domestic violence and government led initiatives to address the problem individually and collectively at a corporate level.

Reading this, I was reminded of the time when I was trying to put together a counseling service for employees, where employees could talk to mental health professionals on any problem that was negatively impacting their functioning at work – personal or professional. We ran some focus groups to assess responses to the idea – and the following demands emerged very strongly

>> Anonymity – No one, not even HR should know that we approached a counselor (Glad they didn’t say no one, ESPECIALLY NOT HR, should know”)

>> Confidentiality –“ My boss should not know, else it will affect my rating”

>> Location – “It should be offered outside office premises – I don’t want my friends seeing me come out of the counselor’s room”

Which is why, when
Uzma Hamid, the corporate social responsibility team manager at KPMG, says –

"We are linking it with performance management, so managers can be aware if they are having problems with people's performance, it [domestic violence] manifests itself through productivity"

…….I have my doubts on how soon we can get there in India.

But then she also says this on domestic violence–

"I was very surprised that no-one came back and said 'this is not the kind of thing that happens here',"

And i think that’s a big indicator of how silent we have all been about this, like we were about this until now.

So let’s get people talking first.


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