Published by ACA International
How to ensure your speech and actions at professional events align with your behavior in the office.
The rules of the road in your office are probably pretty well-known.
Employee handbooks, your policies and procedures, and periodic anti-harassment training set clear expectations for behavior. This not only protects your brand and clients but also your staff, who expect to come to work every day in a safe and respectful environment.
But when you are at an accounts receivable management industry event, outside the four walls of your office, do those rules still apply?
The answer, of course, is yes. In recent years, a wave of business leaders have been exposed for harassment and bad behavior, some of which occurred at professional conferences. In a survey conducted by Smarts Consulting LLC, 60% of the respondents reported having experienced harassment at a meeting at some point in their careers, Collector magazine Managing Editor Anne Rosso May reports in the October issue.
“Far too many individuals do not realize (or appreciate) that the corporate code of conduct applies equally to behavior inside and outside of the office,” said Steve Wiesner, CEO of pelotonRPM, a compliance and HR training platform provider.
Why do these off-site events sometimes muddy the waters of expected professional behavior?
“When people travel they have more of a sense of freedom and autonomy,” said Susan Strauss, certified harassment and bullying consultant. “Very often, particularly if they are spending the night in a different city, their interactions outside of their normal work environment can feel more social than professional. But if you are away on business, yes, you are still on company time and you need to abide by the law and your company’s policies.”
Read more in Rosso May’s report for the consequences of workplace harassment, what to do if you witness harassment, and expectations ACA sets for its events.
Founded in 1939, ACA brings together third-party collection agencies, law firms, asset buying companies, creditors and vendor affiliates, representing more than 230,000 industry employees. ACA establishes ethical standards, produces a wide variety of products, services and publications, and articulates the value of the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers.