With the eruption of the Me Too Movement last year, workplace harassment has become a more familiar topic than it ever has been.
While the recent news coverage on the subject could never transform this into an easy topic to discuss, these events are evidence that it is, at the very least, a necessary one.
For that reason, we’d like to equip you with ways your company can proactively fight workplace harassment.
When people think of workplace harassment, the first thing they think about is sexual harassment. But not all harassment is sexual. The best way to make sure your employees have a clear and complete understanding of what qualifies as harassment is to define it in writing.
Not only does a section in your handbook explicitly inform people about what qualifies as improper conduct, but it also leaves no question in the minds of those who think they may be victims of harassment.
Most likely, all of your employees skimmed and signed the employee manual on their first day of work, but they were probably too excited about their new job to fully comprehend all of the information.
Training programs are a great way to remind your company about your anti-harassment policies and open the door for crucial conversations on a very sensitive subject.
If possible, offer a training session that’s specific to managers and those in leadership positions as well. You want your company leaders to be both capable of identifying harassment in the workplace and committed to preventing it.
It’s one thing to be reprimanded for harassing someone at work, but it’s quite another to lose your job for it. A zero-tolerance policy that’s strictly enforced lays the foundation for a safe corporate culture. Without severe consequences, people are more willing to push the boundaries of harassment or expect to talk themselves out of a situation if they’re accused of wrongdoing.
Not only does a zero-tolerance policy protect your employees, but it also protects the company that follows it. Many victims of harassment in the workplace have sued companies for not taking action and protecting them from their perpetrators. Don’t risk a lawsuit. The ethical next step is to follow the zero-tolerance policy already established and remove the offender from employment.
Sometimes, despite a zero-tolerance policy, workplace harassment continues. There are two common reasons for this:
To stop the cycle, employees need to know that they’re expected to go straight to HR with any information about harassment and that doing so will not put their job or their personal safety at risk.
Because so much of HR‘s work is confidential, HR managers typically find themselves working solo. However, it’s for this very reason that HR departments need added support and accountability. Offer your HR manager professional development opportunities when possible so that they can be educated and empowered to do their job effectively.
If you’re not proactively seeking out ways to improve your company and corporate culture, then you won’t make any progress. OpSource Staffing offers countless resources, including HR consulting services. Let us guide you toward a healthy, harassment-free workplace and improved employee relations!