Harassment Free Workplaces are Productive Workplaces
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 06-07-2018 03:44 AM
Synopsis: When organizations take harassment seriously, employees have better morale and as a result are more productive. When employees know they are safe and their management cares about their well-being, it's amazing how much they can accomplish.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, organizations cannot turn a blind-eye toward harassment in their workplaces. There are plenty of examples of companies that have failed to heed this warning—from Fox News to the Weinstein Company. Not only does harassment severely impact people’s lives, but the financial ramifications can be steep: in 2012, one physician assistant who was sexually harassed at a California hospital received $168 million in a federal lawsuit, which is the largest judgment in U.S. history for a single victim of workplace harassment.
Considering all of this, it’s clear that management must take harassment seriously and implement processes to not only educate their employees but to swiftly take action if allegations of harassment emerge.
While implementing things like anti-harassment training and an anti-harassment policy is simply the right thing to do, there is one additional benefit to confronting harassment in the workplace.
It makes your employees feel more productive.
Why is that?
While there is no guarantee that an organization that embraces harassment prevention will prevent every single instance of harassment, those that do often provide a greater sense of reassurance to their employees compared to organizations that ignore it. Those employees know that for those colleagues who still behave badly, there are processes in place to hold them to account.
By increasing their confidence in that harassment won’t be tolerated, they can spend more time focusing on their actual work, instead of distractions that lead to decreased productivity, cynicism toward management, and fear when interacting with the harasser.
There’s a caveat to this discussion, however. Simply having a policy in place doesn’t automatically provide an overwhelming sense of employee confidence. To truly attack the problem, it takes sexual harassment training.
Everyone from the organization—from the highest officer to the lowest employee—has to recognize and take seriously the organization’s anti-harassment policies. If employees see harassment in the course of their work and they see no enforcement, your organization’s words about being a “safe place where harassment will not be tolerated” will ring shallow. It is up to your organization’s executives and managers to set a strong example: that harassment will not be tolerant. By doing this, employees will become more confident in the organization’s leadership in handling this problem and, consequently, can devote more time to their jobs.
Taking harassment seriously also makes organizations productive because they can move quickly to solve potential problems.
The starting assumption is that all employees have been trained on what harassment is and what they should do if they believe they are victims of harassment. If there is a claim of harassment, an organization that takes harassment seriously has policies in place to investigate the claims and, if necessary, take appropriate action. This fast-track investigatory process leads to swifter, more efficient action.
Granted, all of the time necessary must be spent to fully investigate the claims, but the organization will be more productive in a larger sense compared to one that doesn’t have investigatory processes in place. Less time is spent on determining “what to do” and more time is spent on executing the process.
Finally, along with providing this general sense of confidence that management takes harassment seriously, organizations that proactively combat harassment in the workplace are more likely to keep their best talent.
Simply put, your organization is more likely to lose talent if employees see that harassment is going unpunished. If they don’t feel safe at their jobs (even if they love the organization), they will pack up their bags and leave—perhaps to a competitor who has implemented more stringent anti-harassment policies. Losing some of your organization’s best employees certainly causes disruption within your organization. Morale falls and remaining employees need to take on additional responsibilities. This all leads to decreased productivity.
For many valid reasons, harassment is something that needs to be taken seriously in your organization. The inability to combat harassment in the workplace will lead to decreased morale and, ultimately, decreased productivity. Your organization can prevent this dark future by taking action now to assure employees that harassment will not be tolerated.