Throughout the past few years, we have seen a significant rise in incidents involving sexual harassment in the news. Particularly, high profile ones seem to be more and more common. Hollywood and politics seem to be the primary suspects here, seeing as many of the instances that we are hearing about right now come from those two spaces.
Take this news piece, which highlights just one of the many that have been reported on since the start of the covid-19 pandemic. While at first, we may not want to take such things seriously, we cannot deny that movements such as Me Too have really brought attention to these issues. Therefore, as businesses, adjusting to the times is a necessary step.
How far should we go, then? What precautions and measures should we implement? Those questions, amongst others, are what I am here to answer today. If that is information that you want to know, do be sure to continue reading.
Social Climate Matters
Businesses are looking to sell products or services to their customers to make a profit. Without said customers, they cannot do that. What is one way that we have seen a lot of previously successful companies fall by the wayside? By having scandals or putting forth a negative public image.
Obviously, a sexual harassment case would fall into this category. With more eyes on these issues than ever before, it is even more critical right now that we do our best to prevent these incidents before they occur in the first place. As I said, the social climate that we are living in does matter for our companies.
So, just remember that your actions do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, they are incredibly meaningful. Customers will take note of the policies that you enact, which can either help or hurt you depending on your choices. Providing training to prevent sexual harassment is certainly not a bad thing to do.
In Some States, it is Required
Certain parts of the country here in the United States have created policies and laws that require businesses to host mandatory sexual harassment training if they have more than fifty employees working for them. Now, the exact figures there vary. However, the important thing is that you pay attention to the laws that are in your area.
Some do not go into effect until 2023, so there is still plenty of time to plan out your next moves. Check into whether you need to have specific topics covered in your curriculum as well. Thankfully, though, there are organizations that exist to help out in that regard. They keep a close eye on those specifics and can incorporate them into your curriculum if you utilize their services.
Just know that you will not have to present the material alone. You always have options to outsource or simply have your human resources representative do so. As long as you do the proper research and select a reputable source for the coursework, you should be fine. Many of them can tailor the material specifically to your region if there are in fact different requirements.
Improving Workforce Morale
Many studies have demonstrated that there is a link between employee morale and their levels of productivity. Most of us can look at that fact and recognize that we should do things to improve the former to raise the latter in tandem. Did you know that offering programming such as harassment prevention training can accomplish this?
I know – this might seem surprising. Wouldn’t a topic like this bring the mood down or make people depressed? Upon the initial session, that could be the case. However, it is the aftermath that we should be concerning ourselves with.
You can check out a page like this, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15818-boost-company-morale.html, to get some tips on how else you can increase the morale and mood of your workers. Providing a safe and healthy environment plays a part in that, and training sessions add to it.
Tell your employees that they can tell you about any sort of incidents that may occur. Ensure that you are trustworthy and that you will act upon anything that happens. You should never let a harassment incident go without punishment on the job level. Otherwise, it can be easy to lose respect on several fronts.
If the story ever gets out and into the news, for example, it can be devastating to a brand or company image. With that being said, it is rare that someone feels the need to escalate it to that point unless they are unheard and disenfranchised. That is why I recommend offering that safe space.
Finally, be sure to read over the material yourself as well. Just because you are in charge does not mean you do not need some refreshers!