In person, virtual, self paced, off the shelf, custom: What’s your best method for delivering harassment prevention training

In person, virtual, self paced, off the shelf, custom: What’s your best method for delivering harassment prevention training

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What’s your best method for delivering harassment prevention training

If you’re going to seek vendor/partner support in delivering your company-wide harassment prevention training initiative in 2019, there are a number of ways to do it. Each has pros and cons.

As someone who has advised hundreds of global compliance departments and university TItle IX departments on building effective and scalable compliance and prevention programs, here’s the framework I’ve used in helping to guide executives through this evaluation process.



  • In-person can be a great way to deliver a highly interactive training experience for your employees.
  • The group dynamic of in-person can foster important dialogue between employees on sensitive topics.
  • If you’re using an outside partner, like a Littler Mendelson or Jackson Lewis, they’ll do all the work in
    preparing and delivering for the training session(s).


  • For multi-state employers or employers with a remote workforce, in-person training may prove cost prohibitive.
  • If you’re in NY or CA, and you hire monthly, the frequency that you’ll need to train new hires might also make in-person training logistically and financially prohibitive.
  • In-person training is also less flexible and can be difficult to coordinate for even small, single location employers. If the goal is 100% participation, getting your entire team in the same place for a live event can be challenging.


Major labor & employment law firms like Littler Mendelson and Jackson Lewis offer virtual, webinar style training. These events are typically live, and allow for some real-time interaction and Q&A.


  • If you have an existing, trusted relationship with an in-person trainer but need to scale that up to a larger or more distributed population, virtual can be a great approach.
  • This can be a very cost effective method to reach a distributed workforce. Firms often charge similar rates for virtual as they do for in-person, and virtual can reach a much larger, more distributed population.


  • Tracking: Virtual events are not typically set up to give you participation tracking or certificates of certification at the employee level. Paper sign-in sheets are not advisable, if you can avoid it.
  • Engagement: Virtual events are often a highly passive experience. While there may be poll questions or encouragement for employees to submit questions, there’s no forced engagement built into the learning experience.
  • Interactivity: One of the biggest pros for in-person is the ability for groups or teams to be trained on harassment prevention together. This presents an opportunity for workshop-style engagement that’s difficult to replicate virtually.


Self-paced is what’s more commonly referred to as off-the-shelf or online compliance training. This type of delivery can be powered by vendors like NAVEX Global, EVERFI, ThinkHR, Emtrain, or SAI. It’s also possible to deliver your own internally built courses (via SCORM, AICC or other) through an LMS like Cornerstone or Workday.


  • Self-paced can be a great way to deliver harassment prevention training at scale. Much depends on the quality of the instructional design and instructional writing, but there are several vendors that specialize in building these types of engaging training experiences.
  • Tracking requirements in CA and NY and elsewhere can be onerous if you’re record keeping with sign-in sheets and file cabinets. Self-paced programs can integrate into LMS platforms and give you proof of completion.
  • Self-paced also can be a predictable and cost-effective approach, as many vendors sell flat-fee annual licenses to use their courses and also commit to updates at no additional charge.


  • Self-paced, like virtual, lacks live engagement among employees. When training on topics that relate to conduct, it can be important to teach through team scenarios and workshops.
  • If building your own self-paced content, you’ll undoubtedly face heavy critique from management and employees on the final design and approach. As much time and resources that go into its development, you’ll be expected to make changes and updates on an annual basis. This comes at a cost to you and your team that should be understood upfront.
  • If licensing self-paced content from a vendor, you should expect to have considerable limitations on customizations. With current content authoring technology, the best courses (the ones you’re most likely to want to buy) don’t make it easy to customize. As such, even minor changes can present time and cost hurdles.


Custom refers to the self-paced delivery of content that’s been built ground-up or through heavy customization of an off-the-shelf course(s).


  • Ah, custom! Creating a custom course or heavily modifying an off-the-shelf course can be a great way to leverage the advantages of self-paced training but with a tailored experience that’s more likely to resonate with your workforce.


  • If you’re building your own custom course internally, the self-paced challenges in the previous section apply.
  • If you’re entrusting your custom course creation to a vendor like LRN, EVERFI or NAVEX Global, then you’re committing yourself to that relationship for as long as you intend to use that course or a version of it. Because they’ve built it, they’ll be the ones who control its updates and modifications. It the vendor is good, this may not be a problem. But even good vendors have limitations.
  • If you’re CEO wants to change 3 words in the introductory scenario, well, you’re going to have to pay for that-- and it’s going to take a couple of weeks. This can be frustrating-- but it should be an understood tradeoff in partnering with a vendor for the development of your next harassment prevention course.

If you’d like additional support in evaluating which option is right for you, Impactly can help. Click here to schedule a meeting>>

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