AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

7 strategies to prevent sexual harassment at work

On any given day, you can Google “sexual harassment,” click on the “News” link, and find dozens of headlines about recent allegations of sexual harassment. The stories cover different geographical areas and sectors and show how little has been invested in the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.

No organization wants to believe that sexual harassment at work is a problem at work, but the sad reality is that sexual harassment is widespread today. Media news seems to happen almost daily as one company or key person at a time becomes the focus of a coverage that can severely damage their brands, among other devastating effects, both for the consumer and the employee. From the point of view.

No society is immune from the need to create and maintain jobs without harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace has been a problem for decades. Despite the company’s emphasis on education and harassment policies at the same time. The sad truth is that most of what historically companies have done to combat harassment has not worked. Worse, in some cases, sexual harassment prevention education does more harm than good.

7 Strategies to prevent sexual harassment at work

1. Make it clear that the prevention of sexual harassment is a priority

If there is anything positive about the #MeToo movement and the countless cases of sexual harassment that have emerged in recent years, it is about the need for uniformity. Raise awareness in more actively implement measures to educate and inform employees about behaviors that are unacceptable in the workplace. Organizations should regularly review their harassment policies and communicate this policy and the principles it reflects in all employee and small team meetings, internal company communications, etc. throughout the year, not just during the annual orientation or training cycle.

But not all communication is the same. Research shows that in order to prevent sexual harassment at work, communication does not have to be slow; (opens in a new tab) should instead contain strong and unequivocal statements that preventing harassment is a top priority for the company and that any employee who violates the rules against it will be held accountable, regardless of position on who has her in the company. For this communication to be truly effective, it is essential that this communication comes from the leaders of the entire organization, preferably from top management, not just HR. If company management consistently and authentically communicates that sexual harassment prevention training is a priority and taken seriously, managers and employees will follow suit.

2. Make sure employees and management understand what sexual harassment

is. It may seem obvious what sexual harassment at work is, but employers must take steps to ensure that employees understand exactly the types of inappropriate actions and behaviors. It’s not just about outrageous acts of inappropriate physical contact. Sexual harassment covers a wide range of inappropriate and unwanted behaviors and activities, including posting inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, displaying or displaying inappropriate content, etc. Equally important is the training of managers, managers and employees in more sophisticated forms of sexual harassment. These low-interest behaviors or comments not only damage workplace relationships and team culture, but can escalate into more serious harassment if left unchecked.

3. Maintaining Positive Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Employees do not respond well to insinuations – or outright statements – that they are doing something wrong, that they cannot be trusted, or that they are believed to be guilty of misconduct. Most sexual harassment training (Opens in a new tab) Focus on the negative things, what not to do, that may signal to employees that you think they may be part of the problem. That is, if left on its own device. They will harass others. Instead, prevention research suggests that adopting a positive attitude is a better way to get the message across and help employees create and cultivate the desired environment.

Use positive messages that assume employees want to do the right thing, engage them to be part of the sexual harassment prevention solution, and motivate them to help promote a Culture with respect can be much more effective in shaping employee behavior than a “stick” approach that focuses on misconduct and consequences to be avoided.

4. Clarification of Law

A serious focus on laws and regulations dealing with sexual harassment can quickly embarrass employees. Yes, these issues need to be addressed for consistency but they should not serve as the sole basis for education and communication on the prevention of sexual harassment. Most employees are not experts in labor law, so using legal language as a measure of acceptable workplace behavior and examples of case law for conducting day-to-day activities can lower standards of conduct in the lowest common denominator. It may signal that as long as the word or deed is not illegal, it is acceptable.

In contrast, focusing on professional and respectful behavior rather than focusing on identifying legal violations is more likely to involve employees and managers and influence them. So while it’s important to include legal compliance materials where required by law, be sure to include additional guidelines and examples that reflect the highest standard: your company values, policies and culture.

5. Recruiting Employees to Create a Harassment Free Workplace

Managers, Managers and Human Resources Managers may not monitor harassment 24 hours a day. But by enlisting the help of employees themselves, companies can increase the chances that incidents of harassment or warning signals will be seen, reported and acted upon, and even prevented. All employees are and all employees can be trained to be good spectators, helping to support a positive and respectful culture by:

  • Blocking harassment that occurs or warning signs

  • Supporting others who have been harassed by facts

  • Report harassment officially

6. Add employees as social influencers

Who is the employee most likely to be heard from as a trusted source: their human resources department or their colleagues at work? Obviously the latter.

This is good news for organizations that can leverage key employees as social influencers to help support a harassment-free environment.

7. Take quick and decisive action when problems arise

If employees feel that nothing will be done if problems with sexual harassment occur, they will stop reporting such incidents; In addition, employees who would commit fraudulent behavior may feel brave to continue. Therefore, it is very important that employers respond immediately to reports of harassment, participate in a thorough and objective review of the case, find important results if necessary, and inform the journalist that they did so. Is. Although organizations are often unable to share specific and personal information about disciplinary proceedings, they can generally communicate about the conduct and absolute obligations of the organization to hold people accountable in cases of sexual harassment.

Implementing these prevention strategies in your organization can help you prevent sexual harassment at work while creating a respectful and supportive culture. Make sure that your training in the prevention of sexual harassment (opens in a new tab) does not fail, or worse, backfires.