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Focal Point speaking at PPMA conference on “Bad Banter”

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We are delighted that Stella will be speaking at the PPMA conference on Friday 26th April at 11.00


The session will be tailored to the HR community and asking “HR; are we handling the “bad banter”?”


Banter is a topic that is seldom discussed and yet regularly leads to shocking headlines about inappropriate behaviour and associated resignations At Focal Point we conducted a survey amongst over 700 people about the effects of banter at work and the results were shocking.

97% of respondents said they had been made to feel uncomfortable by banter at some point. 40% of people said when banter was aimed at them it affected how they felt about themselves and, critically, people made to feel uncomfortable about banter felt it had impacted their ability to speak to their manager about their mental health.

These stats are bad enough, but what we hadn’t expected and what is so important for the HR community to address is that HR was highlighted as not doing enough to address banter in their organisations and in some cases, that they were actually responsible for perpetuating inappropriate banter and behaviour. Free text comments which respondents gave included:


· HR often make it worse

· I’m not sure what HR actually do; I feel I am at risk of losing my job if I make a fuss

· A senior manager did not know where to draw the line, but you couldn’t do anything because he was friends with the HR Director


While this is uncomfortable feedback for HR teams everywhere, it is vital we hold a mirror up to ourselves and ensure we get our own house in order, if we are to in any way tackle the wider issue across our organisations.

Stella will be discussing how, as HR professionals, we can go beyond the policies and the set of values displayed on our websites, to ensure the day-to-day culture in our teams is respectful and inclusive – while still maintaining the fun. And critically that we are role modelling within our own HR teams.

While this is not an easy area to navigate, it is possible to bring clarity through discussion and use of practical tools, to keep banter the right side of the line.

And with the Worker Protection Act coming in this year to place more responsibility on organisations to prevent sexual harassment – often dismissed as “just banter” – there is an even greater imperative to act

We look forward to seeing everyone who is attending the conference!


For support tackling behaviour and banter which crosses the line or for how we can help you be prepared for the worker protection act to prevent sexual harassment contact us for a confidential discussion. Call us on 01903 732 782, email us at , contact us, or take a look at how we have helped other organisations tackle inappropriate behaviour at work.