Make sure your employee harassment policies are strong enough
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
In today's workplace, managers can't be too careful when it comes to issues regarding employee harassment. It is key that you protect your company against internal legal claims, and you certainly don't want your staff members to feel uncomfortable, or worse, afraid when they are trying to do their jobs on a daily basis.
Researchers have been looking into which company policies are the most effective in terms of shielding both your workers both physically and emotionally from various forms of co-worker or supervisor abuse. Use what they've learned through the following tips to make sure your policies offer the proper protection, and make changes where they're needed.
Clarify your policy.
A study from the British Psychological Society reports that in most cases of sexual harassment or bullying, a company's organizational structure, not individual personality conflicts, is the direct cause of allowing the circumstance to occur, and not resolve effectively.
Your senior management teams needs to review your policy to make sure it emphasizes respect for all of your workers, and guarantees a fast resolution of every harassment situation. Lay out a detailed plan for investigation of claims, and a clear policy regarding what supervisors and employees who witness any form of harassment are required to do to report it immediately, then enforce the policy stringently.
Offer self-generated skills training.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia found that employees who are singled out for any form of harassment on the job often develop a specific victim mentality. These workers fall into a pattern of feeling anxious and slowly lose the strength to stand up for themselves.
That, in turn, erodes their confidence in themselves, and they come to see their workplace as a threatening environment. It can be very smart to hold workshop training for all your employees that lay out effective coping skills for dealing with harassment and strategies for rebuilding self-esteem.
This, of course, would be in addition to the anti-harassment training your company should already be engaged in.
Check in with your female team members often.
Research from the American Psychological Association found that although men and women can equally be victims of sexual harassment on the job, women are far more likely to report PTSD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders as a result of their abuse.
It's vital that you communicate with your female staffers and supervisors to assure them you are there to address and deal with any perpetrators of harassment within your company. Gain your workers' trust through consistent behavior: let all your employees see you taking reports of harassment seriously through ongoing education efforts, a set-in-stone reporting procedure, and a no-tolerance code of ethics.
Spot trouble in advance.
Use your emotional intelligence. If you see an employee behaving in a way that indicates harassment of another worker is a real possibility, step in and nip that unacceptable behavior in the bud before anything happens.
Let other employees see you tell a problem employee to stop any inappropriate behavior, too — that can act as a powerful warning for everyone.
Follow up fast.
Make sure any harassment claim brought to your attention is dealt with swiftly and completely.
Dragging your feet because you hope the situation will resolve on its own between your employees is not only risky, it's inhumane. Doing the right thing and defending your workers' safety and dignity is always the best practice.
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