The good news about FRD is that it can be prevented.  The basic steps are assessing FRD in your company, training everyone about FRD and its causes, reviewing policies and procedures, monitoring for effects, aligning culture and creating a complaint resolution process.

Assessment

Knowing where FRD lurks in your company is important.  Lawsuits are an obvious tip-off, but less drastic signs can include no caregivers in upper management, high attrition among caregivers, complaints by and about certain supervisors involving leave, evaluations of caregivers that are more negative that those of non-caregivers, negative comments about families in small talk, stunted career paths for caregivers, lack of flexible work programs or few flexible workers, and disproportionate discipline against caregivers.

Training

Training everyone, but particularly HR and legal professionals and anyone who supervises another worker, is the key step in FRD prevention.  Training should include what FRD is, the causes of FRD, examination of common assumptions, alternative responses in situations where problems typically arise, the business case for preventing FRD, individual and organizational responsibilities for addressing FRD, best practices for managing caregivers, how to respond to complaints and the laws that prevent FRD.

Policy Review

Some company policies or procedures may have a negative impact on caregivers, such as policies that prevent leave during the first year of employment or that require relocation for promotion.  Hiring and promotion criteria, compensation and bonus guidelines and flexible work programs typically need to be examined as well.  Some experts recommend including FRD in company EEO policies.

Monitoring

It is important to monitor new hires, compensation decisions, promotions, evaluations, discipline, terminations, and the like for effects of FRD.

Culture

Workplace culture is key to employee engagement, productivity and loyalty.  Companies succeed when they have low drama, collegial environments where all employees feel valued and part of the team.  Making support for caregivers a shared value will ensure that the FRD prevention program has the desired effects.  After all, almost everyone will be a caregiver at some point.

Complaint process

HR needs to know, before a complaint arises, how to handle it.  Understanding common triggers and patterns of FRD will help with the investigation and response.  An effective complaint process may prevent a lawsuit, but even if it doesn’t, it may limit the damages a company has to pay.

Having an FRD prevention program customized to fit the needs of your company is vitally important.  A small investment in assessing, training, and implementing procedures can save huge legal bills.  Even more importantly, a well-designed program can enhance the effectiveness of your supervisors and your caregiver employees and stem unwanted attrition.  Contact us today to discuss your company’s needs.

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