Organizations know they must provide a workplace harassment course for their employees—both to help stem the tide of inappropriate behavior and to meet legal requirements. Unfortunately, many also know that much of the training that has been delivered in the past has been woefully ineffective. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that some of the training that has historically been provided may actually even be counter-productive.
Employers certainly need to be cautious when considering the type of workplace harassment training to bring into their organizations. Here are some tips for choosing the right workplace harassment course for your organization.
1. Start With the End in Mind
Any type of training you do should be well-aligned with organizational objectives and provided in consideration of the outcomes desired. What results will you be looking for?
- Measurable shifts in attitudes or understanding of specific issues?
- Decrease, or increase, in reports of harassment? Increases can often be a good thing as part of an awareness-building effort.
- Increase in employees’ positive view of the work environment?
Whatever your desired outcomes are, they should serve as the basis for your consideration of the type of training to provide. Starting with the end in mind ensures an outcome-based focus.
2. Give It a Positive Spin
One of the reasons that traditional workplace harassment training has failed to deliver desired results—or has even resulted in negative outcomes—is the negative tone that may accompany the training. Employees generally feel that they’re being scolded or framed as being “the problem.” This is particularly seen with male employees. While harassment is a serious issue with obvious negative undertones, training can be focused not so much on what you want to eliminate, but what you want to create—an inclusive, supportive and respectful culture.
3. Be Sure to Highlight Bystanders In the Training
Make sure that during employee harassment training the employees aren’t just the subject of training—passive listeners who have no role in the process. Instead, employees can be active participants not only in the training but also in the process of building a positive culture. Employees can have a powerful role to play as active bystanders—knowing the types of behaviors that are inappropriate and taking proactive strides to step in, intervene, divert, or report instances that they encounter.
Get best practices, groundbreaking research, and the latest in HR technology, delivered to your inbox.
4. Look for a Workplace Harassment Course That Goes Light on the Legalese
Yes, there are elements of the law and regulatory requirements that must be conveyed during a workplace harassment course. But, this information can be presented in a more palatable way than is usually the case. Too much emphasis on the legalese can cause employees to tune out, minimizing or entirely eliminating the positive potential of the training. Make the legal issues an element of the training, not the foundation of it. A related note here: make sure that the legal information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and reliable.
5. Make it Interactive
Look for training that is interactive—whether presented live or using technology. Workplace harassment online courses and webinars can be augmented with interactive content to engage employees, boosting interest and attention. Online harassment training is cost-effective, scalable, and offers the flexibility of 24/7 deliverability to meet employee needs across the workplace. Training augmented with immersive scenarios, interaction, and video will ensure interest and engagement.
6. Make it Ongoing
A workplace harassment training course isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an event. It should be a process—ongoing dialogue that takes place at all levels of the organization throughout the year, not just during an annual training session. By incorporating training into an LMS and offering options for viewing, reviewing, accessing, and updating information, and tracking employee engagement and tying activities to real workplace impacts, you can ensure that your investment in harassment training is having the desired impact.
7. Make it Measurable
Look for training that has built-in methods for measuring not only participation but outcomes. The ability to draw actionable insights will help you inform your prevention and compliance strategies. The most successful businesses are those that are able to take advantage of employee data to improve their company culture. They action on this data to reduce turnover, increase productivity, and recruit the best and the brightest to their organizations.
The need for sexual harassment training may well be at an all-time high these days. With stories of harassment and inappropriate—even highly egregious—behavior making headlines and breaking news reports on a regular basis, organizations’ concerns about ensuring workplace environments free from harassment are at an all-time high. The best practices above can help boost the odds that you will choose the right workplace harassment course for your organization.