*This article was first published by ThinkHR on March 5th, 2019.
Thanks to new training mandates in California, New York and Delaware, more employees will be trained on sexual harassment & discrimination prevention in 2019 than ever before.
Previous harassment prevention training mandates, like California AB 1825, focused primarily on teaching supervisors about reporting responsibilities and what constitutes harassment. As a result, the majority of compliance training content (historically) has been centered around managing within the law rather than holistically addressing EEOC prevention best practices.
This “check the box” approach has also defined how sexual harassment & discrimination prevention training initiatives have been measured. Specifically, completion or participation numbers have been the key metrics for HR in reporting the relative success or failure of an annual harassment prevention training initiative.
Those days are over.
Thanks to the increased public pressure from the #metoo movement, along with #metoo legislation like SB 1343 in California and the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act that requires all employees be trained, there’s now an increased expectation relating to the quality of harassment prevention training initiatives.
Put simply, employers need to defend both the efficacy and investment of their harassment prevention initiatives.
The Rise of the Workplace Climate Survey
The question is: how do you measure the efficacy of your harassment prevention initiatives?
An article published in Harvard Business Review in January, 2018 introduced a very simple, and approachable way to answer that question: ask your employees. Referred to by the EEOC as climate surveys, these questionnaires can help employers measure the efficacy of existing prevention programs as well identify blind spots relating to harassment and discrimination.
In its 2016 study of harassment in the workplace, the EEOC made the following recommendation: “Employers should conduct climate surveys to assess the extent to which harassment is a problem in their organization.”