AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
The requirement to establish and uphold a harassment-free workplace applies to all businesses. Unfortunately, despite a corporate focus on offering training and putting rules against harassment into place at the same time, sexual harassment at work has been a problem for decades. The unfortunate reality is that most of the past harassment prevention efforts made by businesses have failed. Even worse, in some instances, the sexual harassment prevention training offered is more detrimental than beneficial.
By taking a different approach to addressing against sexual harassment, employers can effectively diminish the potential for harassment and ensure a safe, harassment-free workplace for all. Here are seven solutions to preventing sexual harassment at work.
Ways to Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
1. Make it Crystal Clear that Sexual Harassment Prevention is a Company Priority
In recent years, both the MeToo movement and several examples of sexual harassment have come to light. As a result, there is a rising understanding of the necessity of being proactive at work. Businesses must take action to educate and enlighten employees about the kinds of behaviors that are unacceptable in the workplace. Companies should routinely examine their harassment policies. Additionally, they should discuss these policies and the values they uphold frequently, not just at orientation or annual training cycles but also at all-staff and smaller team meetings, in internal company communications, and elsewhere throughout the year.
2. Make Sure That Employees and Management Understand What Sexual Harassment Is
Although it can seem obvious what sexual harassment at work is, managers must take steps to make sure that employees are aware of the precise types of actions and behaviors that are unacceptable. This goes beyond particularly offensive instances of unwanted physical contact. Making improper sexual comments, exhibiting or viewing inappropriate content, and other disagreeable and undesirable behaviors and activities are all included in the definition of sexual harassment. Employees are more likely to understand how to prevent sexual harassment accusations in the future if they are aware that these behaviors are inappropriate.
3. Keep Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Positive
Insinuations or explicit claims that employees are doing improperly, that they can't be trusted, or that they are being suspected of participating in improper behavior don't go over well with workers. A lot of sexual harassment training focuses on the negative and what to avoid doing, which can give employees the impression that they might be contributing to the issue by harassing others if left to their own devices. Instead, preventative research demonstrates that adopting a positive attitude is a better strategy to spread the word and involve staff in supporting the development of the ideal environment.
4. Enlist Employees in Ensuring a Harassment-Free Workplace
Supervisors, managers, and HR leaders cannot continuously monitor harassment. Companies can, however, increase the likelihood that incidents or warning indications of harassment will be noticed, reported, and even prevented by enlisting the assistance of their employees. Sexual harassment at the office cannot be stopped by HR. Every employee is. Additionally, all staff members can be taught how to be responsible bystanders who promote a courteous and healthy atmosphere by:
- Interrupting incidences of harassment or its warning signs
- Supporting others who have experienced harm after the fact
- Formally reporting harassment
- Encouraging others’ allyship
6. Enlist Employees as Social Influencers
Which group at work HR or coworkers does an employee's peers listen to as a trustworthy source more frequently? Obviously, the latter. In fact, according to research by Edelman, the Edelman Trust Barometer, the biggest story of the last 16 years of data has been the decline of traditional authority and the corresponding rise of "a person like me" (friends, peers, or a person we believe shares similar values or characteristics) as a trustworthy source of information.
That's good news for businesses that may use influential key workers to promote a harassment-free workplace. Reach out to key employees to get their support for harassment prevention initiatives and feedback on how to make communication and training more efficient.
7. Take Swift and Decisive Actions as Issues Arise
Workers will cease reporting sexual harassment occurrences if they believe that nothing will be done in the event that a problem arises, which may encourage those employees who might cause harm to continue acting inappropriately. Therefore, it is crucial that employers act quickly to address complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace, conduct an exhaustive and unbiased assessment or inquiry, impose appropriate sanctions, and notify the reporter that they have done so. Organizations can communicate broadly about these actions and their unwavering commitment to holding people accountable for sexual harassment occurrences, even while they frequently are unable to reveal particular and personal information about the disciplinary actions that have been taken.
You may prevent workplace sexual harassment by using these preventative measures while fostering a respectful and encouraging workplace culture. Make sure your training on preventing sexual harassment doesn't fall flat or, worse, has the opposite effect of what you planned.