Friday, November 18, 2005

Domestic violence and productivity

Two University of Arkansas researchers found that for women in non-supervisory positions that had been victims of domestic violence and victimized in the last 12 months, their estimated lost productivity costs per year were $2,940 higher than non-victimized female employees in non-supervisory positions.

So you figure -- just fire the dv victims right? It will be cheaper? Well, on the face of it, I guess I could understand how someone could thing that way. Except:

1) You don't know who all the domestic violence victims are -- and some of them are your really good employees. CAEPV just did a national telephone poll of employed adults and 21% of them reported being victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives -- and all of them work somewhere.

2) Costs of hiring new employees are very high. According to Maria Grant, Deloitte & Touche partner in charge of the human capital program in Michigan, it costs $12,000 in recruitment and training expenses to replace the average nonprofessional worker and $35,000 to find a new professional employee. At the Families and Work Institute, experts tell companies it will cost about 75 percent of a nonmanagerial worker's annual salary to replace him or her and 150 percent of a manager's annual salary.

3) Workplace safety. Domestic violence often becomes a workplace violence issue, and by removing those who you think you "know" are victims, you have just created a dis-incentive for the rest of the victims to talk to you about the issue. It makes much more sense to provide a prevention and safety program for everyone.

The researchers also found that for victims whose workplaces provided support, the negative impact of the victimization was decreased. Cost savings? I would think so. More loyal employee? I would guess so. Possibility of helping to save a life while increasing productivity and decreasing healthcare costs (which I did not even discuss here) -- you bet!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Are 21% of Your Employees Victims of Domestic Violence?

CAEPV ( recently released the first telephone survey of full-time employed adults regarding their experiences with domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. Twenty-one percent (21%) of those we polled had been victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. Keep in mind that everyone we polled was employed full time (we defined being employed full time as being employed 32 hours or more a week).

And what was our split of male/female poll participants? About 40% were male, and about 60% were female, so while it was not an even split, it certainly was not overwhelmingly female. So what do I think that means?

I think that means we have a lot of female (and male) victims of domestic violence at our workplaces -- at least as suggested by this poll. And as we all know, no one leaves their "home life" at the door when they walk into the office -- and this is especially true for a victim of domestic violence.

There are so many positive and proactive things that an enlightened workplace can do to address the issue -- and it does not have to be expensive, or complicated. For more information on the poll, as well as a sample policy and an article on "six steps for creating a workplace program," visit