Allowing harassment in the workplace is against the law and hugely damaging to a company’s culture. Addressing the issue through means such as training is essential.
Eliminating harassment from the workplace is an essential part of effective management. With so many stories of pervasive sexual harassment in the news, corporate leaders are likely asking themselves how these situations occur and what the best steps are to prevent their own organizations from suffering such problems.
Just as there is no single type of harassment, there isn’t a single universal way to stamp out this problem. The one thing business leaders can’t afford to do, however, is ignore the potential problems and take no action. Assuming that a workplace is free of personnel who could cause harassment or somehow immune to this problem can lead to disastrous results. Executives shouldn’t miss chances to implement processes that could prevent harmful behaviors among the workforce.
Management’s Imperative: Prevent Harassment of All Kinds
The specter of harassment in the workplace is always present, and it’s up to company leadership to ensure they are creating environments designed to prevent it from taking hold. The Paychex Worx blog pointed out that this isn’t just a moral imperative, but the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act specifically forbids gender-based workplace harassment, and there are a network of rules at state levels directing companies to keep their places of business free of these harmful interactions.
The source explained that companies should ensure they have clear and available zero-tolerance policies about harassment, forbidding related behaviors in plain language and encompassing every department, employee and level of the business. Both the rules and the policies for reporting that an employee has violated them should be universally known and understood.
From there, organizations can focus on training. Paychex Worx pointed out how there should be programs for the general workforce and extra sessions for managers and supervisors. People with oversight of their fellow workers must be ready to respond to any complaints lodged, and to detect harassment on their own, to stop it at the earliest possible juncture.
Policies Should Be Comprehensive and Unique
While all training projects demand care and focus from company leadership, anti-harassment sessions are especially critical. HR Morning, presenting tips based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance, explained how every company should have training projects in place that are designed with the circumstances of the particular workplace in mind. Furthermore, training should reach from the top executives to the newest hires.
The source noted how the EEOC has observed many harassment policies are not actually suited to preventing harmful behavior because they begin and end with legal requirements. Companies that just base training plans on getting out of legal trouble, rather than actually changing mindsets are doing themselves a disservice. The laws that businesses have to oblige are a beginning point and minimum level of preparedness. To truly stamp out harmful attitudes and actions, leaders should go beyond their obligations.
There is room for additional training beyond listing wrongful acts. HR Morning pointed out that it’s productive to add courses about civility and good workplace citizenship, so individuals know how to become better and more productive teammates, in addition to knowing about and avoiding harassing behaviors.
Building a well-tailored and effective anti-harassment training plan may entail picking from a variety of different courses and building a repertoire that suits the business’s location, industry, workforce make-up, and unique challenges. These training modules can take many different forms, and the following examples are merely the beginning of the options managers have:
- Two-part courses for managers and employees: It’s important that each employee knows his or her part in reporting, preventing and wiping out harassment in the workplace. Courses with related modules for workers and their supervisors can create a consistent set of best practices everyone is familiar with.
- Workplace-focused courses: From heavy-duty factories to cubicle-based offices and beyond, each workplace has its own most common and pervasive harassment types. Finding a course specifically tied to an industry or location can help employees get highly relevant tips.
- Multi-lingual training: When companies purchase video-based training for their teams, they can look for products available in more than one language. This can help ensure the whole team learns the same practices, even when the workforce consists of native speakers of multiple languages.
Video-based training encompasses a number of types of harassment, as well as more general courses designed to encourage good workplace citizenship in general. Leaders who haven’t given much thought to training their teams in the behaviors that will keep the work environment free of harassment have a lot to choose from, which gives them the ability to pick the right mix for their unique needs.
The reason harassment is so widely discussed is simple – it’s clear these behaviors are harmful, but companies haven’t been successful in getting rid of them. It’s clear that more action has to be taken, and that should include specialized training. Businesses have legal requirements to think about, and more than that, too. Their workers’ daily well-being is at stake.