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Tuesday, Mar 25 2014 12:08 PM

'First Look': Are you saying ouch at work? HR consultant offers tips for the job

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    Holly Culhane, president of Bakersfield-based human resources consulting firm P.A.S. Associates and P.A.S. Investigations, talks with Scott Cox on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    Holly Culhane, president of Bakersfield-based human resources consulting firm P.A.S. Associates and P.A.S. Investigations, discusses workplace matters on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Have you ever heard a colleague at work say something inappropriate to someone or perhaps even to you? But you let it go -- or you think you do.

Sometimes conversations that may not offend you at the moment come back to haunt you weeks or months later. That is where human resources might step in.

Tuesday on "First Look with Scott Cox," Holly Culhane, president of the Bakersfield-based human resources consulting firm P.A.S. Associates and P.A.S. Investigations, talked about how her business works with employers on a variety of issues.

"Our goal is to be more proactive than reactive," Culhane said. "We like to train employees with the OUCH method, saying OUCH if something is not appropriate."

P.A.S. Associates works with small- and medium-sized businesses, the government sector and non-profit organizations.

Those who work with P.A.S. have a access to a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week hotline their employees can call if they have questions or concerns about their workplace.

Businesses also are now using a "cool survey process," Culhane said.

Through a program called SurveyMonkey -- free online questionnaire and survey software -- businesses can customize survey questions to give employees and individual workers remain anonymous.

That survey information then goes to P.A.S. and they create a report for the company or business conducting the survey. Culhane cautioned that employers should only do a survey if they're committed to taking the results seriously.

"We want to have employee engagement and productivity," Culhane said.

Sometimes comments made in the workplace are inappropriate. Other times employees might overreact to a comment they hear, and that is when communication skills come into play.

Addressing the problem that has made you uncomfortable with the person who is saying it can help both of you clear the air so that it doesn't happen again, Culhane advised.

But whatever you do, don't avoid having a conversation, either with the person who has made an inappropriate comment to you or to HR.

"Avoidance is not a solution," Culhane said.

 

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