Sexual harassment continues to occur in the workplace. And it doesn’t matter if your business model is entirely remote or you’re running a 1500-person distribution center. When people are charged with developing working relationships, there is going to be the risk of someone crossing the line.
Most of the time, offending individuals don’t even realize they’re doing something wrong. And that’s why it’s so important for today’s businesses to continuously improve educational efforts to reduce instances of sexual harassment. To help improve your company guidelines, you can also consider these additional tips.
Make Sexual Harassment Prevention a Priority
The sneaky thing about sexual harassment is that it can creep into any business segment, anytime. To help reduce the instances occurring in your company, start by making a staff-facing and internal commitment to preventing it in the first place. Talk about your company’s mission to fight against it during onboarding conversations, at staff meetings, and in writing. Informing your staff about your initiatives will set the proper tone that supports your zero-tolerance policy.
Provide Clear Definitions
People who enjoy their work and their company of colleagues are still capable of inadvertently crossing the line. Part of your effort to reduce instances of sexual harassment should also include providing clear and transparent definitions for acts that constitute sexual harassment. Placing a hand on a shoulder or telling a co-worker he looks nice could be friendly compliments until they make the recipient uncomfortable. Then a misunderstanding occurs, resulting in a potential sexual harassment claim. Leave no room for gray area and cite examples of what is prohibited behavior.
Don’t Make Light of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Because so many companies are now required to initiate sexual harassment prevention training, Human Resources departments everywhere feel the “mass push” to roll out ongoing videos to watch, policies, and guidelines. Over time, employees grow accustomed to these efforts and might make light of “yet another sexual harassment video to watch.” To reduce instances of inappropriate behavior, it’s best to keep the topic and prevention measures serious. Treat these training initiatives as strict and fundamental policies everyone must understand. In the same vein, look for ways to keep training positive by promoting what behaviors are acceptable, not just what not to do.
Deputize Employees to Empower Them to Action
Don’t leave the responsibility of monitoring workplace behavior to managers and HR leaders. They won’t be able to be everywhere all the time. Instead, promote your sexual harassment prevention as a team effort, deputizing individuals to take action should they witness or experience instances themselves. Coach employees how to spot warning signs, support each other, and formally report instances of harassment. Having an ethics hotline is the best tool to have in place, offering an anonymous tool for reporting and removing any fears or anxiety about calling out a colleague.
Consider these four tips when looking to reduce the instances of sexual harassment in your company environment. And let Ethical Advocate be your guide to exploring ethics hotlines!