There’s never been a more important time to talk about harassment in the workplace.
But why now?
This exact question was addressed in a recent NPR article, which said that events in the news have resulted in simply more people talking about it.
Last month, the New Yorker published a lengthy report in which many women accused Hollywood magnate Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Just a few days before that, the New York Times revealed more news about Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment settlements. This sparked countless conversations around sexual harassment and numerous high-profile people.
The deluge of news triggered thousands of responses, and social media flooded with people sharing their own stories of sexual assault and harassment with the hashtag #MeToo.
So the issue has been front and center for pretty much everyone with a social media account. That includes business leaders.
Xenium’s own Suzi Alligood was interviewed on KXL Morning News about the topic recently, and she spoke about workplace harassment and the recent increase in requests for workplace harassment training.
The interpretation of what harassment is can vary person to person, so while this is on everyone’s minds, be proactive. Make sure your whole team understands your company’s harassment policies. Speak up about what you will and will not tolerate. Ensure your voice is among the many.
Unsure where to begin? Start with these action items.
Review your workplace harassment policy. Don’t have one? Now is the time to create one. Employees and managers need to understand the organization’s expectations around workplace behavior. They need boundaries to operate by, and you as an employer need this tool with which you can hold individuals accountable. A detailed policy doesn’t just make it easier for you to implement those boundaries. It also helps all your employees feel protected.
Talk to your managers. They are exposed to this conversation every day, whether it’s from stories in the media, from colleagues, or online. Open the dialogue around sexual harassment in your environment so managers can ask questions and share their concerns.
Provide workplace harassment training. Educate your employees on the topic of harassment and tie this training to your workplace expectations. From this training, employees will have an appropriate understanding of what harassment is, what to do when they see it, and how they can help keep the workplace harassment-free. Anyone who is responsible for another employee, like a supervisor, lead, manager, or director, needs additional tools and education, as differences in power can contribute to workplace harassment.
Now is the time to ensure all your employees understand your company’s harassment policies. Xenium’s education programs on workplace harassment, including e-learning courses, onsite trainings, and regular workshops hosted at Xenium’s office, are a great way to get started.