There needs to be a separate training session for supervisors and managers that includes how to handle complaints properly.
To ensure that your company provides well-executed sexual harassment training, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best advice. From providing mental health resources to detailing legal implications, there are several suggestions organizations should consider incorporating when training their staff on sexual harassment.
Here are nine essentials companies can integrate in their sexual harassment training:
- Require Training of the Whole Team
- Provide Mental Health Resources
- Lead Your Company’s Commitment
- Outline Nuanced Examples
- Detail the Legal Implications
- Train Managers to Handle Complaints
- Expand Education Beyond Romantic Intent
- Make It Clearly Defined
- Advise Staff of Reporting Procedures
Require Training of the Whole Team
Any kind of harassment in the workplace can lead to lower productivity, increased mental health struggles, and damaged company culture. Anti-harassment training should be provided for all employees, regardless of state mandates. By providing sexual harassment training to your entire team, a zero-tolerance message is made clear and promotes feelings of safety for all.
Jenn Christie, Markitors
Provide Mental Health Resources
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is so common that we need to undergo training to eradicate it. It is of great help to discuss how it affects people psychologically. This will give insight to victims on how to cope with this kind of experience and make perpetrators aware of the consequences if they do such horrendous acts. Lastly, provide information on where to seek help and/or support when they need it because some victims find it hard to seek help and choose to keep it to themselves.
Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs
Lead Your Company’s Commitment
Sexual harassment has a legal definition, but to me, the most important part of sexual harassment training is to emphasize your organization’s commitment to fair treatment in the workplace. This must come from the top of the food chain! First impressions matter!
When your employees receive an email with the words “sexual harassment training” in the title, accompanied by links to training, are you sending the message that your company takes this issue seriously, or is it just another corporate/HR training exercise? In my opinion, if the message is coming from HR, you’re starting on the wrong foot. If you have training where there’s no messaging coming from the top of the organization saying this is really important, your training is not going to have the proper or desired impact.
Ronald Kubitz, Forms+Surfaces
Outline Nuanced Examples
All sexual harassment training should including an identification module that includes nuanced examples. For the most part, we can all recognize overt cases of sexual harassment — such as many cases of physical touch. However, sexual harassment can happen in a broad ranges of ways, including over text, video chat, in 1 on 1s and many other formats. Learning to recognize these more nuanced examples of sexual harassment is essential for successful training.
Melissa Kelly, Virtual Team Building
Detail the Legal Implications
Many employees might not know what exactly can be done from a legal standpoint, and teaching them this side of things can really help them to feel more confident to stand up and fight in situations that may come about. Outlining the laws around sexual harassment will not only help in terms of educating employees in general but will also act as prevention for this type of behavior as employees will learn what may cause them to face serious legal action. You should include information on company policies around sexual harassment to add to the legal side of things and help employees feel safe within your company.
Peter Horne, Geoff McDonald and Associates
Train Managers to How Handle Complaints
There needs to be a separate training session for supervisors and managers that includes how to handle complaints properly. The supervisors and managers play a massive role in handling complaints, and they need to know how to take action. This includes what to say to the person making the accusation and working with HR on the investigation.
Bari Medgaus, Stabili-Teeth
Expand Education Beyond Romantic Intent
Most sexual harassment training centers around the narrative of a boss or employee romantically pursuing a teammate. However, just because a colleague does not pressure a coworker into a date, relationship, or physical encounter, does not mean that sexual harassment has not occurred. Often the intention of this behavior is to make an individual feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or inferior. Or, the act may occur without any regard to the target’s feelings. Just because sex is not the desired or eventual end result, does not mean that interaction is not sexual harassment. Widen the lens of harassment beyond romantic or intimate overtures, and seek to eliminate any inappropriate references or unprofessional conduct beyond the overt gestures.
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
Make It Clearly Defined
One thing that would be helpful to include in sexual harassment training is a clear definition of what exactly sexual harassment is. There may be people who do not have a full understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment. Including information that expounds on the definition of sexual harassment and providing examples of it can really help ensure there is no ambiguity when it comes to whether or not sexual harassment has occurred in the workplace.
George Fraguio, Vaster Capital
Advise Staff of Reporting Procedures
Establish how all employees should report the incident. That said, whoever is covering this part of the training needs to express the importance of why sexual harassment should be reported because many people don’t report it out of fear or discomfort. When covering this topic, make it clear that these claims or any claim of misconduct will be taken seriously.
Olivia Young, Conscious Items