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Think your current sexual harassment prevention training is working? You may be wrong. There is a good possibility that it is failing. Your training program most likely tells employees to report instances of sexual harassment to a manager, which is essential. But the problem is: where do managers go if they want to report sexual harassment? More importantly, do your managers know about sexual harassment prevention?
At least one in four women experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Nearly half of all claims received by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity are sex-based. You see, sexual harassment is an epidemic — one that affects men, too. However, the only way to expose inappropriate behavior is by training the entire workforce about the appropriate steps to take, not just employees, but managers as well.
Currently, online courses recognize how difficult it is for employees to report sexual harassment, but managers have to make difficult decisions, too. This is why we need more manager sexual harassment prevention training. Our goal with creating The Respectful Workplace was to provide interactive harassment prevention eLearning in separate courses for employees and managers. We focus on five different modules that cover everything from what harassment is, how to recognize it in your workplace, the penalties for harassment, and of course, how to prevent it in your workplace. With that stated, we will share why it’s so important to us that managers have appropriate sexual harassment prevention training in their workplace.
Ninety percent of workers say their company has anti-sexual harassment policies, while 71 percent of companies carry out sexual harassment training. However, nearly all of these training targets employees. As an HR professional, you might have had to train employees about inappropriate sexual remarks and physical advances. But did your managers attend this training? Perhaps, you thought it wasn’t necessary to train them. They are leaders. They have responsibility, and you assume they already know these things.
In many cases, it’s managers who train employees about sexual harassment. They outline the steps to take when someone experiences or witnesses sexual harassment. They talk about the importance of speaking up about these situations. However, often, they have nobody to turn to if they find themselves in a similar situation.
As an HR professional, it’s essential to train all members of your workforce. This is why manager-specific training on sexual harassment prevention is crucial. While most online programs focus on employees, Respectful Workplace starts at the people at the top of your organization — managers, supervisors, CEOs.
Managers might be reluctant to undergo training at first. After all, many of them have never had sexual harassment training before.
“Training is done for employees, except the top person or a few top people manage not to attend, whether because they feel they’re too busy or they feel it’s not something they need to attend,” says one HR consulting firm in Connecticut.
Managers need to know how to handle complaints from employees who say they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. They need to know how to avoid retaliation. They need to cultivate an organizational culture of respect and tolerance — a culture that doesn’t let sexually inappropriate remarks slide or abusive behavior go unpunished. This is what sexual harassment prevention training for managers does.
“When the climate toward sexual harassment is lenient, members feel that there are few consequences – that those who engage in sexual harassment will be protected, while those who report it will be disregarded or even penalized,” says the Harvard Business Review.
When managers receive proper sexual harassment training, this can have a trickle-down effect on employees. Employees who know that managers receive similar training as themselves are more likely to respect people in senior positions.
This is where the Respectful Workplace comes in. This program teaches every employee at every level how to respond to sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
The Respectful Workplaces teaches managers;
Sexual harassment can have a detrimental impact on any organization. Not only can it ruin lives, but it can be costly. Research shows that companies lose, on average, $22,500 in lost productivity for every employee who is sexually harassed. Still, it seems employees are typically the only ones who receive sexual harassment training. This needs to change. Managers need training, too. Sexual harassment prevention training videos, tools, and resources can solve this problem.
Want more information about sexual harassment training for managers? Click here to find out about Respectful Workplace.
Walter is Projections’ CEO and the founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.