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My Bad!



“My Bad” Part 1

In a recent workshop “The Good, the Bad, and the Funny – Communication in the Workplace” the attendees and I got into a discussion of the phrase “My bad”.  This colloquial catchphrase seems to be used for everything from simple spelling errors to deliberate and manipulative harm of a person caused by another.

The group had a variety of feelings ranging from the term sufficing as a heartfelt apology to having the negative connotation of being flippant and insincere.

What do you think?  Please take a moment to answer this two-question survey.  The results will be in a near future blog.

Or click this link:

I’m always happy to talk with you about improving communication at your workplace.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to I’d love to hear from you.



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What are these people talking about?

It Doesnt DVD front R It Happened DVD front R

“This webinar was very helpful in understanding how employers can make an impact on the awareness of domestic violence and how it affects lost productivity, increased health/mental health costs, and the impact on management in an organization.”

“The webinar was very informative. Unlike most HR webinars that I’ve attended. It’s great to shed some light on this topic as it’s often kept quiet due to its sensitive nature. I feel more comfortable with my plan of action should I need to execute it.”

“Fantastic webinar! I am fortunate to not have had the experiences that were described. I need to be more proactive in seeking way to help others. I did not realize that there is that much domestic violence out there. Thank you for the training.”

They’ve all benefited from our webinars pre-approved for HRCI credit!  We’re pleased to announce two of these webinars have been re-recorded and have new and updated information, discussion and video skill practices.

Are you ready to earn more HRCI credit?

Take a look at these convenient and very affordable on-demand learning opportunities!

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What Can, and Does Happen

A few days ago I received a call from a Human Resource Director who urgently needed help and advice with an employee situation that was escalating quickly. The employee was missing work, bruised when she was there, and her spouse was threatening co-worker’s and demanding information of his wife’s whereabouts and schedule.  I guided her through dynamics, processes, legalities and options.  Then offered her suggestions and advantages to have an individualized, customized complete domestic violence program for their organization now.  She said management wouldn’t go for it, “They’d rather wait until something happens.”

“It already has.” I told them.  Still, the employee’s unproductive missed time, cost for injuries, personal stress level and anxiety to the workplace isn’t enough.  They apparently would rather wait until she’s dead too.

This happens on a regular basis.  How do these people stop the reactionary mindset? What is the point of doing a program after-the-fact in the honor of the dead?

Having said that, it’s always a good time to address the issue.  My favorite clients are the ones that know the reality is that they don’t have to actually see evidence of a problem, they are realistic, preventive and proactive.

This is a painful reminder of what can, and does happen.

Want to know more or know somebody who might be interested in  my services?

Please contact me via phone 480-726-9833 or just reply to this post.


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A Shift in the Room

Stuttgart, Germany  Stephanie Angelo 6 June 2013


It was nothing short of the moment I’d been waiting for- for years.  Finally the opportunity to do a presentation overseas.  For me, this proud first international presentation took place in Stuttgart, Germany.

How lucky is that?

Initially I had offered two different outlines from my most requested presentations; “It Happened at Home, It Cost Us at Work” and “It Doesn’t Make Sense, and It’s Costing Us Millions”.

The president of the hosting organization asked for a blend of the two, plus discussion points of additional areas of interest for his audience.

It is completely normal for me to do extensive research before a presentation.  Presentations in states, other than my home state of Arizona, require additional research; and it was certainly no different when I did research for Germany.

The research was meant to show attendees the prevalence of domestic violence in Germany, illustrate gender differences and parallels, sources of information on DV services and compare the above mentioned to the same statistics in the United States.

I created an 8 question survey with versions in German and in English that could be answered anonymously through Survey Monkey.  The survey links were distributed in all communications about my upcoming presentation.

There was a shift in the room – a physical reaction of the audience when I revealed my research and the results of their survey responses.  I heard, “Oh my God.”  “That’s surprising.” and “I had no idea it was that much!”

My research showed that Germany’s overall rate of domestic violence is approximately only 2% lower than America’s. To break it down a bit, in the U.S. statistics show that of all victims, 85% are female and 15% are male.  In Germany I found 87% female and 13% male.  The German people I spoke to prior to my arrival assumed that their country had a very low rate compared to the U.S., the research exposed the truth – that by comparison there wasn’t much of a comparison.

I also specialize in process which translates domestic abuse to determine the financial impact on organizations.  When I showed the costs and comparisons to German businesses there was a brief moment where time seemed to stop.  Then an uncomfortable resettling into seats.  An attendee said afterwards,

“Domestic violence is often view as a “women’s issue”.  I find it extremely important to get more men involved, informed and proactive against domestic violence. By presenting this topic based on the financial aspects of how domestic violence affects the workplace is a very good beginning for breaking down these boundaries and giving the male dominated business community a bit of “food for thought.”

If you check any thesaurus another word for “shift” is “change” and if my presentation could prompt that in Stuttgart, or any German city, or anywhere in the world; it will be a move away from complacency, and the taboos of “private” matter and “women’s issue”, to one that affects every one of us.  Because we all share this earth.


About Stephanie

As a subject matter expert, Stephanie has set a new standard for working with corporate leaders who are often not aware of the deep costs their company is experiencing as a result of this social issue. The rewarding outcome is workplaces that are safe, supportive and sought-after.


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HRE ProcessSSS

By guest contributor Erika Evans

President Obama announced Friday that he will sign the expansion of the Violence Against Women’s act to include lesbians, gays, transgender people, Native Americans and immigrants after Congress voted 286 to 138 in its favor.  Vice President Biden noted that there has been a 64 percent drop since he first wrote and pushed the bill in 1994.

Even if there is evidence that there has been a decrease in domestic violence there will never be a time where we should stop addressing it. The Center for Disease Control did a report in 2011 that states that 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.

The Violence Against Women act website states that there has been an 11 percent increase in the reporting of domestic violence over the past 10 years. This is proof that addressing the issue has made progress.  Also, we have only just begun to acknowledge domestic violence and intimate partner abuse in the work place and need to push forward with doing so to ensure the safety of employees and their right to work in a protected environment.

The only way we can continue to make progress is to keep laws, prevention programs, employment policies and education in place and to address domestic violence in society past, present and future.

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Who Is Going To Buy Into This Anyway?

checkbookIn a program I recently did I received a comment from an attendee “That was an excellent presentation of the issues and what HR professionals should do. Now how do I get pursued my top management to institute your programs?

Wow. The million dollar question. And more commonly asked of me then you would think. The answer is…wait for it…it depends.

It depends because assuming “top management” can all be painted with the same brush and be motivated by the same things is to embark on an endless battle.
While I’m not saying it has to be a battle (though in some cases it seems to have been) you have to look at the many reasons why a top manager might be motivated to institute a program and then address that motivation.

Here below are what I have found to be the top motivators. There is no particular order to the list:

They agree with the principle that if you help the offender you help the victim – and they know the workplace is made up of both.

A couple points to note:
• At least one million women and 371,000 men are victims of stalking in the U.S. each year. Stalkers often follow the victim to the workplace.
• Up to 52% of victims of domestic abuse have lost their jobs because batterers typically engage in behavior that makes it difficult to work.

They are responsible for ensuring State and Federal Compliance.
• The EEOC has issued guidance for employer compliance.
• Occupational safety and health laws generally require employers to maintain a safe workplace, which may include a violence-free workplace.
• The Americans with Disabilities Act or state disabilities laws may require job accommodation of a victim of domestic violence who is or becomes mentally or physically disabled.
• Family and medical leave laws may require employers to grant leave to employees who are coping with serious health conditions resulting from domestic violence situations
They are concerned by and aware of the bottom line costs of domestic violence.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence equals $727.8 million, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost each year.
• The national health care costs of domestic violence are high, with direct medical and mental health care services for victims amounting to nearly $4.1 billion.
• Human Resource Essential has developed a proprietary formula which calculates a company’s losses due to domestic violence in 11 separate functional areas of the organization. We provide this breakdown as a service to our clients.

They want to have their or their company’s name attached to something which generates public approval.
• Across the US there are small businesses, corporations, government agencies that are already addressing domestic violence, with great success.
• Some companies that have instituted programs include SCFAZ, Verizon Wireless, Blue Shield of California, and Liz Claiborne, Inc., to name a few.

They have experienced DV in their own lives and or feel deeply that as a public health and community issue it’s the right thing to do.
• Pure and simple – it is. Enlightened executives know they can no longer look the other way.

The above list could go on. I could have lengthy bullets of facts and statistics. What I’ve illustrated above is only a minimal list of the reasons we should address domestic violence in the workplace and the reasons we might motivate an executive to institute a program.

I wish I had a concrete answer for the program attendee who asked that question of me because it was a great one. Some people will never change, the will never care and they will never “stick their neck out” to address the taboo and stigma of domestic violence in order to do something about it.

You know the kind- the ones that don’t have to “buy into it” because they’re already sold.

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Dear readers – This blog ran previously and continues to bring positive impact to readers.  That makes me glad.

Stephanie —

This month of awareness has assisted in bringing together those who work to bring an end to Domestic Violence, as well as move forward legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. As we move forward to October and participate in activities that support in bringing awareness and memorial to this ever present issue, we aid those who are suffering everyday to bring them one step closer to safety, and a healthier life for themselves, and their family. What might be things you can do to stop domestic abuse?

In your place of worship

1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation’s programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.

2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.

3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.

In your workplace

4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.

5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.

6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.

In schools and daycare

7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.

8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with your classmates.

9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.

In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods

10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.

11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.

12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.

13. “Adopt” a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.

As a Citizen

14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.

15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.

16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.

17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.

18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.

19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fundraising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.

20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.

21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.

Source original for this article:

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Six Steps to Safe, Supportive and Sought-After

When the Human Resources manager called to describe the female employee’s resistance to discussing the abusive husband who kept showing up at the workplace; making his presence in her life achingly obvious with emails, phone calls and stake-outs in the parking lot.

“She won’t talk with me.” said the manager. “She clams up.” They asked me to meet with the woman on their behalf, thinking that a neutral outsider could encourage her to help.

So we sat down, the Human Resource manager, the employee and me. And that’s where I got my big surprise. The manager barked an order at the woman that she “has to” meet with me. The tone of her voice was angry, and insistent as she gave her a directive, “You will talk with Ms. Angelo until she says you can go!” Ouch. Quite frankly that answered a lot of  my questions as to why this woman was so reluctant to talk.

When you are a domestic violence victim, discussing the dynamics of your relationship is very, very complex. We have written about that in other blogs. Let’s focus now on how to create safe environments to ask for help for victims of domestic violence.

1.   Start with your room environment. Invite the employee to talk with you in a place that’s quiet and not where everyone can see you talking. Have water and tissue boxes available on the table. (Some say you should not hand a tissue to someone crying as it sends a subliminal message that they should stop. Instead ensure they can easily reach tissues on their own).

2.   Be an “active listener.” This sends the message that you are genuinely interested and respect what they have to say. Give your full attention and comment on what you think you heard. If you did not understand what was said, ask for clarification. Ask open ended questions that do not convey judgment. For example you can ask, “Could you tell me more about that?”, “What do you mean he has a temper just like his father?” “What happened next?” “Would you like help getting out?” “May I give you a list of resources and phone numbers?”

3.   Be positive and have an upbeat tone of voice. No one likes to listen, or open up, to someone who is grumpy; smile. Show enthusiasm and be positive when having conversations with victims or suspected victims.  I am not saying that you should make light of their trauma.  Just don’t wallow in it either.  Empathy not sympathy. Maintain eye contact without staring. Nod occasionally and lean forward slightly.

4.   Offer guidance that addresses the person’s problem, behavior, or concern. Do not criticize for wrong or bad behavior; instead develop an action plan to help the victim (or offender) change the situation that’s unsafe and/or affecting their work. Talk about strategies they can use in difficult situations. Discuss hypothetical scenarios such as what he/she can do if they are in an unsafe situation and hopefully avoid getting into dangerous situations. Remember though, this is based on offering resources, like shelter information, hot-line phone numbers and your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP).  It is not to suggest you act as their therapist.

5.   Maintain and enhance self-esteem and self-respect. People with positive self-esteem are more likely to reach out for help and accept the help that is offered. Where victims are concerned try to remember that the batterer, or offender’s, greatest ally is to minimize and strip their victim of self-worth. Most victims have been told so often that they are unworthy that they’ve come to believe it. You can help replace lost self-esteem.

6.   Know your limitations. The reason clients seek me out for domestic violence training, is that it raises Domestic Violence Intelligence. Know that there are times that a subject matter expert can ensure you address the situation correctly and help safeguard your from making a mistake that could violate compliance or land you in hot water. If you are attempting to get your employee to seek help from experts, be the first to set an example and seek help yourself.

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No One is Immune


Statistics show that:

13% of Americans are likely to have heart disease1

Almost 20% of Americans are likely to have diabetes1

One in eight women or 12.6% will have breast cancer1

One in six men will develop prostate cancer1

As of 2006, the CDC reports that an estimated 36,828people per 100,000 are infected with HIV2

More than 200,000 people — are unaware they’re infected3

If American adults have come to accept these facts, as the vast majority of them have, then why is it still so hard to accept the fact that 85% of women and 15% of men are victims of abuse?  Just like the above health statistics we understand there are a number of unreported cases so the numbers should be higher that what you see presented.The same is true for domestic violence.Lastly, when you think of the above noted health statistics you know that until someone’s illness is really in advanced stages you will probably never know someone is ill just by looking at them.  The same is undeniably true with domestic abuse.

You don’t know when someone is suffering. You have to have reached a point of trust where the victim is comfortable enough, and feeling safe enough to open up to you. You need to be personally at a point where you understand enough about the dynamics of abuse that you can approach someone you suspect is victimized without jeopardizing their trust and personal safety.

I once had the VP of Human Resources of a very large international organization of 58,000 employees worldwide; boast to me “it doesn’t happen in my company, I never hear about it.”  Well, sadly that’s statistically impossible.  Even more sad was the fact that this VP didn’t have his ear to the ground enough to even know what was going one in his organization.

Do any of your employees exhibit any of the following?

  • Become quiet when he/she is around their partner or ex-partner and feel afraid of making him/her angry?
  • Cancel plans at the last minute?
  • Not have access to money?
  • Have their attire dictated to them?
  • Stop seeing friends and family members, becoming more and more isolated?
  • Explaining bruises to family, coworker’s or friends?

These are only a few of the possible signs of abuse. No one is immune from domestic violence and there are many available resources.  Like the VP of Human Resources I mentioned, you don’t have to see it or hear of it for it to be happening and I’m available to help your organization by

Check out other resources too like The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

2Centers for Disease Control

3Kenneth Mayer of Brown University

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When the Employer is the Real Superhero

When I was a little girl, my older brother sometimes pretended to fly like Superman, jumping from couch to chair with a makeshift cape over his shoulders.  I was ten years old the first time I really saw him fly.  That was when my mother’s boyfriend launched him from the living room to the dining room – where he crashed to the floor in a heap.  My brother wasn’t trying to be a superhero, but he was trying to stop this man from hurting our mother.

The boyfriend came and went over the next six years, finally disappearing when I was sixteen. Each time he left my relief was immense. Each time he came back my disappointment was crushing.

My brother and I used to take long walks at night just to get out of the house. I remember one night crunching through snow in five-degree-below-zero weather trying to figure out how we could become emancipated at the ages of twelve and fourteen. Our options looked pretty grim so we dropped the idea and waited for the years to go by till we could be free.

When you’re a kid living with abuse in the home it’s like living on an earth quake’s fault line. You never know when the ground is going to come out from under you. Nothing is safe or secure.  You never know who’s next or what will set it off. You don’t want friends over because something might happen when they’re there.  There’s no one to talk to.  You hold your breath – all the time.  (From my book Battered and Abused, Bringing the Darkness into the Light)

Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including the children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear.

Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to children who are physically abused. They are often unable to establish nurturing bonds with either parent Children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home.

Statistics show that over 3 million children witness violence in their home each year. Those who see and hear violence in the home suffer physically and emotionally.

“Families under stress produce children under stress. If a spouse is being abused and there are children in the home, the children are affected by the abuse.” (Ackerman and Pickering, 1989)

Research shows without question that children will react in different ways.  Variables are due to the child’s gender, age, what they witnessed, if there was someone giving them appropriate love and support, and other factors.  Still children exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and or behavioral problems than those who aren’t.  They experience, lower self-esteem, depression, health issues, growth and development problems.  They may avoid going to school, and once there are often too distracted to do well.  Interviews with teachers has indicated that they are often spending significant time with children with these issues, to the detriment of the other students.

When employers provide resources, support systems and counseling services to their workforce they do a tremendous service to their employees to show they care.  Since often times the workplace is the only possible source of information for an employee who’s every action is monitored by a controlling partner, you can imagine how great it is to be able to find resources for help at the workplace.

Employers who have a qualified Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) in house, or on contract, prove to their employees that they aren’t just blowing smoke in terms of being employee friendly.  They’re walking the talk.  And it comes back to them tenfold in a loyal workforce.  That’s when the employer is the real superhero.

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