Combatting sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new concept. However, there are new working dynamics and engagements that present evolving concerns. As a company leader, you might be exploring new initiatives to enforce in 2023 to keep your organization ahead of sexual harassment violations. Here are key things to know that every manager should prioritize when developing more robust ethics policies and guidelines to protect staff, customers, and vendors.
Defining Sexual Harassment in 2023
It’s imperative that companies take the steps to define sexual harassment. Sure, your teams might already understand the more aggressive or extreme examples of unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. But they might not understand how inadvertent violations can also occur when giving what they perceive to be an innocent compliment or initiating what they believe is a benign action. Keep the ethics training clear, easy to understand, and full of examples to educate staff. Here are some definition examples you might include in your policies and training:
· Sexual harassment can include offensive remarks about someone’s appearance or sexuality.
· Sexual harassment can occur as spoken violations or written communications.
· Sexual harassment includes general sentiments about gender, sexuality, and preferences.
· Sexual harassment can be initiated by anyone, including all genders and workplace roles.
Providing Tools and Resources for Everyone
Today’s workforce looks different. More and more companies are adopting hybrid and remote working policies. But those working from home can still be violators or victims of sexual harassment. Managers can be looking for new ways to engage those off-site staff and keep communications open so they feel protected. Just as you improve your ethics training engagements and education, consider improving all the tools and resources available to everyone, regardless of where they report to work. Here are reporting insights to consider:
· Create a step-by-step process for reporting instances of sexual harassment.
· Outline a transparent series of investigation steps that follow each report.
· Share consequences and policy enforcement measures employees can expect.
Leveraging the Ethics Hotline
When it comes to sexual harassment in today’s workplace, identifying and reporting violations and concerns is key. And it’s an ethics concern that will often go unreported because victims and witnesses fear retaliation. The answer? An ethics hotline is one of the best reporting channels available for identifying, reporting, and combatting sexual harassment. With an ethics hotline, reports can be initiated anonymously, making it easier for those who might fear retaliation or consequences. And ethics hotlines are open to those outside of the organization, too, including clients, visiting guests, vendor partners, and colleagues. This means anyone can have a direct line to report sexual harassment violations whenever they encounter them.
Because so much of today’s working landscape is different, it’s imperative that companies adapt and change with their ethics policies, especially those intended to oversee sexual harassment. Keep these insights in mind and make sure your managers know how to remain relevant and ahead of potential violations. And when you need a partner to help develop an ethics hotline, let Ethical Advocate be your guide!