Sexual harassment in the workplace is finally being brought to light with the #MeToo movement. More than ever, businesses are taking the initiative to end sexual harassment once and for all.
However, the question remains – how do you stop it? The workplace should be a safe place; but, many people, both men and women, are held back simply because of harassment.
The good news is there are ways to stop it so employees can focus not just on their careers, but on helping your business grow.
The Cost To Your Business
If you don’t immediately notice obvious signs of sexual harassment in the workplace, you might not think it’s affecting your business. A 2018 survey conducted by Edison Research discovered 21% of Americans experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Even worse, only 25% of women and 41% of men felt they could safely report the incident.
As far as businesses handling the harassment, only 53% of men and 30% of women felt their employer handled the situation correctly. This means businesses need to do more to make employees feel safer reporting incidents.
Ignoring this issue costs your business. It doesn’t just affect a few employees, but your entire business. Just a few ways it costs you include:
- Losing highly skilled employees
- Increased healthcare costs due to increase mental and physical health issues
- Legal costs
- High absenteeism
- Overall decrease in morale
- Poor reputation, if word gets out, resulting in fewer customers and talented employees
Putting an end to sexual harassment in the workplace not only benefits the employees, but the future of your business.
Train Everyone On Types Of Sexual Harassment
Proper training on what is and isn’t appropriate is the first step. Many people think sexual harassment requires physical contact, but it’s much more than that. Some other examples include:
- Inappropriate jokes or gestures
- Constant flirting or asking for dates when advances are declined
- Watching or looking at pornography
- Sending or posting pictures or messages of a sexual nature
Of course, there can be more ways than this. Anything that harasses someone in a sexual manner constitutes sexual harassment.
Don’t just train your employees, though. Ensure HR and management are properly trained as well. After all, they will be the people in charge of handling accusations.
Introduce Clear Harassment Policies
Your business should always have clear sexual and general harassment policies in place that include how to file an accusation, how accusations are investigated and the potential repercussions. Knowing the policies may help people feel safer coming forward.
Create A Reporting Strategy
Everyone should feel safe reporting a sexual harassment incident. However, many aren’t. Set up an anonymous way to report sexual harassment incidents. Often times, harassment is reported by someone outside of the situation. This encourages an investigation to stop all forms of harassment, including sexual.
By knowing there’s a way to report sexual harassment anonymously, employees won’t be as afraid of repercussions from the person who harassed them.
You have the power to help end sexual harassment in the workplace by acting proactively today.