Why is Harassment Training Important
Organizations must know why harassment training is important for employees to make the work environment a positive one. Harassment is defined as the act of exhibiting unwanted and unnecessary physical or verbal behavior at the workplace, generally used for expressing aggressive pressure or intimidation that may make a person feel humiliated, uncomfortable, or mentally distressed.
Types of Workplace Harassment
Harassment at the workplace may be of various types such as:
- Verbal/written harassment
- Physical Harassment
- Visual harassment
1. Verbal/Written Harassment
- The act of sending emails containing offensive jokes disregarding race and religion.
- The act of requesting dates or other sexual favors is repeated in person or via text.
- The act of conducting inquiries regarding family history of illnesses or genetic disorders.
- The act of passing derogatory comments about someone’s disability or age
- The act of imitating someone’s foreign accent without their knowledge
2. Physical Harassment
- The act of signaling by lewd hand gestures and gestures conveying curse words.
- The act of undesirable touching of a person or their clothing or accessories.
- The act of frequent intentional contact with a person
- The act of demeaning a person by using sexually suggestive facial expressions
- The act of playing loud music containing offensive or degrading language.
3. Visual Harassment
- The act of wearing clothing with offensive language.
- The act of displaying posters of sexual nature
- The act of drawing violent or derogatory images.
Importance of Harassment Training
Providing adequate training to prevent harassment with businesses and organizations having a zero-tolerance policy can empower the employees and ensure their comfort at work.
Laws and regulations to prevent all kinds of harassment and discrimination have been passed in the United States. Acts of harassment officially are illegal and strict action can be taken against those found guilty. Even non-employees such as vendors and contracts need to be protected for their rights and dignity.
All businesses, firms, and organizations need to protect their brand's reputation from the public. Companies should never tolerate harassment, and business leaders have to take steps and be responsible for shaping the culture of their organization. Everyone should authentically believe that harassment is wrong and is not acceptable or tolerable in the workplace.
Harassment issues, be it physical, sexual, or verbal, need to be addressed head-on. This training can ensure discipline in the workplace and instill confidence and enthusiasm in the employees to feel more committed.
Employees and workers do not wish or engage themselves in a toxic environment that accepts workplace harassment, and this can lead to increased turnover and costs. Many companies and organizations face issues and difficulty finding and retaining good employees. Therefore, harassment training must be initiated as a hiring and retention strategy to maintain a strong track record prohibiting such unlawful behavior.
Productivity decreases in a poor work environment and causes employees to become less motivated towards their daily jobs. This, in turn, leads to decreased customer satisfaction, productivity, profitability, as well as increased employee turnover, and quality issues.
Companies and organizations that provide harassment training sessions are accepted worldwide by employees as well as non-employees, and such training imparts discipline and culture. Expert HR services that provide and conduct standardized training help to ensure compliance and develop good behavior among employees.
- The Right Thing
Apart from being prominent in the business field, employers also need to be responsible for the treatment and well-being of their employees. There can be certain cases of people who physically and mentally suffer from harassment by stress that build up to certain mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There can occur financial losses too due to employees not being retained, quitting their jobs, and absenteeism.
Benefits of Harassment Training
- Safe Work Environment
Harassment can lead to the creation of an unsafe and toxic environment for workers and employees. It can lead to stress, pain, fear, and discomfort for employees as well as non-employees. Training sessions can help employees to overcome their tragic experiences and provide assurance for quality, efficiency, and profits.
- Strengthening Culture
A responsible organization is involved in promoting workplace culture by communicating its policies, goals, and values to its working and non-working members. Effective training can motivate individuals and strengthen organizational culture.
- Positive Empowerment
Adequate training can even make unreported incidents of discrimination and harassment come out, and this can encourage people undergoing such issues to report without feeling insecure. This can have a positive effect even for bystanders who witness such training sessions.
- Increased Compliance
Businesses and companies ignorant of harassment issues are putting themselves at potential legal, financial, and professional risk by losing employees and most of their workforce. Such consequences can be prevented by regulating harassment training sessions.
Approaches for Harassment Training
- Setting an Example by Top-level Executives
Employees and other co-workers get motivated by the actions of their higher officials and top-level executives. If executives are responsible and abide by rules and regulations set by the company, this, in turn, influences the people working under them too.
- Framing Policies
Policies need to be framed by executives and managers for defining unacceptable behaviors that may be verbal, written, sexual, physical, or mental. A code of conduct must be maintained by the organization for all employees to follow. For example, a person may not realize that telling lewd jokes that may offend other people are an act of sexual harassment.
- Explaining Employees’ Rights
Whenever a person feels uncomfortable with their surroundings or is being mistreated by someone within the company structure, they need to report the incident immediately to a senior manager. All employees should be aware of the fact that their rights are not to be violated. They need to report the issue, file a grievance against the one responsible, and the organization needs to support them by resolving the issue.
- Reviewing Discipline Procedures
The discipline procedures set by the company have to be simplified for easy understanding, and employers need to make sure that everyone completely understands the policies. Such discipline procedures usually start with an investigative approach followed by suspending the person found guilty of misconduct.
The guilty person is answerable to various consequences that range from a written reprimand to termination. The person who is guilty may need to face the consequences at a criminal or civil level as well based on the severity of the incident.
- Building Strong Culture
Business leaders and top-level executives have the responsibility to mold and enforce a culture where managers and employees need to behave professionally at all times, including their offsite and off-hour gatherings such as tea breaks, lunch breaks, etc.
Any kind of offensive humor or demeaning actions should not be tolerated strictly. Creating such an environment free of harassment helps employees to be at inner peace, focus on their respective jobs, and contribute to the betterment of the company.
- Easy Accessibility to Communication Channels
There may be certain cases of harassment where employees may be facing such issues from their direct supervisor, which makes it difficult for them to report. Such inappropriate behavior can be reported easily through online platforms such as emails and company apps if the employees are granted access to them.
Once a person gets harassed by a fellow employee or a senior executive, they need to stay calm and composed. Any kind of impulsive or reckless behavior needs to be avoided, and the situation needs to be informed to top-level executives or the human resources department.