It is hard to believe it has only been one year since the Harvey Weinstein allegations began the avalanche of investigations into sexual harassment across multiple industries. While we often think of sexual harassment as a Mad Men-era issue, harassment of all kinds is unfortunately alive and well.
If you have not conducted harassment prevention and workplace civility training within the past two years, the time is now! Admittedly, most harassment prevention trainings are quite boring and focus on “thou shalt nots”. This is an effective CYA approach, but today’s environment provides the context for much richer dialogue in your organization.
Below are a few suggestions to liven up your training, and to engage your staff in robust conversation.
- Tell a story. History is ripe with compelling stories of brave souls standing up to discrimination and harassment. Fred Korematsu, Harvey Milk, Anita Hill and many, many more. Your workforce will appreciate the history lesson, and you can use these examples of perseverance in the face of great odds.
- Use current examples. Discuss current events, including allegations of discrimination and harassment across multiple industries. Explore the factors that created cultures that tolerated this behavior. Utilize YouTube videos and other media coverage (be sure not so slide too far to the right or left with your choice of media outlets).
- Promote bystander intervention. Today’s worker is much more empowered than employees in the past. Whether you attribute this power to the war for talent, social media, or corporate responsibility, it is clear that any individual can make a difference. Stepping in when you observe inappropriate behavior should be encouraged in your workplace. This is also referred to as being an “upstander”
- Policy review. Yes, you do need to review company policies against harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Make sure your policies provide multiple avenues for reporting harassment and clearly prohibit any If and when you decide to create an internship program, make sure it benefits both the intern and your organization.