Communicating Your Company’s Anti-Harassment Policy to Employees through Effective Anti-Harassment TrainingNov 27, 2023
You do not want to be the next company on the evening news! The only way to ensure that does not happen is by clearly communicating to your employees your company’s anti-harassment policy through effective anti-harassment training, so they understand what will and will not be tolerated.
Let’s be clear on one thing. The conversation with employees on your company’s harassment policy cannot just be a one and done training; it must be an ongoing message that is incorporated into your company culture. Harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace should all have a zero-tolerance message in your workplace – without exception.
When it comes to harassment, employees have both rights and responsibilities. They have the right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. At the same time, they have the responsibility to work with the organization to ensure the workplace is harassment free. It is crucial that you communicate this to them, so they understand this responsibility. Otherwise, they will most often deter to ignoring wrongdoing they see in order to not get involved.
Employees are also responsible for their own behavior and to report any activity they feel is contrary to the policy of the organization or public policy in general. It is imperative that employees understand this and that leadership takes a role in creating a process for them to communicate these activities.
Because we know that people receive messages in a variety of ways, it is essential to consider how you will communicate your anti-harassment message to your team throughout the year.
What works for one person may not work for others. So… here’s what I suggest:
Just talk to them!
Use a mix of videos, oral presentations and written tools during your training to ensure all employees are on board and understand your position on harassment. A great way to reinforce the behaviors you want in your workplace would be to find people celebrating diversity and supporting others and send out video messages throughout the year.
It is a best practice to have external training every 12-18 months on harassment to enforce the seriousness of the message. New hires should always receive harassment training from your human resources or office professionals.
Take advantage of your anti-harassment training and use it as an opportunity to create bonds with employees, so they never feel alone in the process. You can achieve this through an internal source (HR Department or management) or consider bringing in an expert to help facilitate.
You should have a formal anti-harassment policy in your handbook. Encourage all employees to review your harassment policy, and the rest of the handbook, to be sure you are following best practices. Send your anti-harassment policy separately to all employees during the year for review and as a constant reminder. Also, send short emails on occasion reminding employees of their rights and responsibilities and a “thank you,” or "in case you missed it" announcement when leaders or employees exhibit the behavior you are looking for.
Get Employees Involved in the Anti-Harassment Process
Many team members want to feel they are doing something to move anti-harassment forward. Ask trusted employees if they would like to buddy with a new team member the first 90 days to be sure they are comfortable in their work environment.
A great exercise to get employees involved in the anti-harassment conversation and process is to ask them to submit funny clips from movies and TV that exhibit unacceptable behaviors. There are endless examples that can be found on YouTube.
We all know the legal ramification of not addressing harassment in the workplace. However, that is not the real reason to focus on anti-harassment training and developing a strong anti-harassment policy for your workplace. Employees today have options. If they are not treated right and don’t think that their voice will be heard, they will just go elsewhere. You have put time and energy into training employees, not to mention significant cost. To have them leave over a disrespectful workplace is a shame.
More than all that, it is just the right thing to do!
Thanks for reading!
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