Sexual Harassment Training
Source: smallbiztrends

So – it is common knowledge amongst most of us in the business world (at least those in leadership positions of some sort or another) that we need to be on top of our game in terms of preventing scandals in our organizations.  Brand image seems to be more important now than ever before, seeing as anyone can research our companies at any time.  Depending on what they find, they might be more or less inclined to become customers.

That is a big deal, of course.  We should always strive for the former outcome rather than the latter.  How can we accomplish that, though?  Obviously, we can use a few different strategies.

Today, though, I will be focusing on one in particular.  If you guessed that it is anti-harassment training, then you guessed correctly!  The question is, though, how effective is it in reality?  Are we wasting our time?  Does it backfire, like this blog post suggests?

When I walk you through the statistics, you will hopefully be able to see that this is not the case.  There is a fair amount of evidence that demonstrates that it can be effective.  For a comprehensive guide to all sorts of stats, though, make sure to stick around. 

The Facts around Harassment in the Workplace

Before we begin, I do want to offer a small warning. Some of what I will be covering today is sensitive and could be triggering to certain readers.  With that in mind, let us proceed.

In recent years, many studies have been done to track patterns amongst those who suffer from harassment at work.  Most of them are quite concerning, unfortunately. For one thing, there is a link between abusing substances such as alcohol and being bullied at a job.  While we cannot say for certain why this is, it is not difficult to infer that the extra stresses have an impact.

Unfortunately, this is not something that has been studied very often in the United States compared to other countries.  This makes it difficult to know the true morbidity rates (meaning the prevalence) of it occurring.  Naturally, that leads to the challenge that we have in terms of preventing sexual harassment – when we do not know the full extent of the problem, we can hardly tackle it.

With that being said, there is no denying that we should still do our best to mitigate it even without all of the facts. We still know that there are no situations in which it is a positive for anyone.  Having a poor atmosphere in the office lowers productivity, at the very least.

An Alarming Glimpse at Reality

Let us get into some of the specifics now in regard to the certain types of harassment.  For now, I will be focusing on sexual harassment.  For instance, let us examine some of the common reasons that it occurs in the first place.  More often than not, there is a power dynamic at play that complicates the situation further.

One example of this is requesting sexual favors (or coercing someone into them) in return for a promotion, pay raise, or other form of benefit in a work setting.  As you can read about on this page, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-014-9971-2, there is good reason to be concerned about that.  By virtue of one person having power over the other, there is a lack of authoritative consent. 

Abusive situations like that are not acceptable to be occurring anywhere, let alone in a professional environment.  If you have supervisors or managers other than yourself, it is important that you tell them about this and how frowned upon it truly is. Do not let your business be added to the list of figures that we can find in research papers.

Now, let us examine some of the stats related to reporting incidents.  These numbers are concerningly small.  In fact, only sixty-three percent of women will tell someone what occurred, and a mere twenty-one percent of men report.  Obviously, these are unacceptable numbers.

What can we do to help that?  Well, I think that the best strategy is to let your employees know that you are someone safe to talk to.  You will not judge them, laugh, or dismiss their concerns. Chances are, if they do come to you about it, it is something worth taking seriously.

After all, it can be hard to admit that we are being harassed.  Especially when it comes to sexual harassment, there are certain stigmas associated with it.  Therefore, I do hope that you will take my advice there.

The main point of this discussion today, though, is to highlight why education in this are matters.  Whether you create the course yourself or get help from a third-party organization who can provide training sessions, you are taking a positive step.