Has your organization had to deal with harassment claims in the workplace? In many cases, the way in which you handle harassment can make or break your reputation as an employer and affect every fabric of your organization – from hiring outcomes to employee morale. The efforts you take to prevent harassment in the workplace can prevent significant harassment issues and contribute to a more positive, fulfilling, and productive work environment for every employee. Here are some of the best ways to approach the issue of harassment at your company:
Establish a harassment policy.
The first main step to preventing and managing harassment in the workplace is to establish a formal policy. The policy should include detailed information about how harassment claims will be handled (such as terms regarding termination, probation, or mediation, depending on the offense), as well as all harassment training requirements for staff. Your policy should outline a clear process for reporting and investigating claims, as well as a series of steps that will be taken to address a determined case of harassment. Proactively educating and communicating your company’s policy is critical for ensuring every person on your team understands what types of behaviors constitute as harassment, as well as harassment ramifications.
Require harassment training.
Implementing comprehensive harassment training is critical for educating both new and existing employees about harassment in the workplace. New employees should receive this training during the onboarding process, while existing employees should be required to receive a “refresher” training each year. Trainings can be facilitated in a variety of formats, such as in-person seminars or virtual programs. Once given the training, it’s employees’ responsibility to understand what’s expected of them in terms of their behavior and to be prepared for the consequences that come along with harassment claims.
Treat every complaint with respect.
No matter what the situation, it’s imperative to treat every employee who brings a claim forward with respect. Acknowledging the employee’s feelings and listening to them will show concern and attention to their well-being. Once you’ve spoken with the employee in detail, it’s important to follow through with the appropriate steps to address the specific issue at hand. Taking all employees’ claims seriously is necessary in all cases of reported harassment – regardless of how minor or major an issue may seem.
In today’s world, your company can’t afford not to take harassment seriously. By putting the practices above into action, you’ll foster an ethical work environment that combats harassment at its core.
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