Harassment can be found in any industry, as evidenced by the #MeToo campaign.
Some companies are taking a “not us” attitude and setting themselves up for a potential disaster. Have you recently evaluated your business policies when it comes to harassment, bullying, and sexual abuse?
Here are the top 4 best practices that you can implement in your business to prevent your own #MeToo moment.
Develop and Implement Strong Anti-Harassment Policies
Put one together if you don’t have one yet. If you don’t have a written policy, then formalize it and send it out to employees. If the policy is sat somewhere in HR and hasn’t been reviewed, then get to work on it with a legal professional, include examples of what is considered unacceptable, and list the potential consequences for violation.
Have Multi Avenues For Complaints
Immediate boss, their boss, the president of the company, HR (if they have one), Chief Compliance officer or legal and something that should be available is a hotline # that would be used the most. Companies need to have several unrelated ways for employees to make complaints against discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. If your current policy says that victims should go to the president of the company, and they are the harasser in question, then there is no point to the policy. Give employees options.
Even if you only hear mutterings and whisperings and don’t receive an official complaint, you shouldn’t hesitate to investigate the alleged misconduct. Bring in outside investigators or consult an attorney and get their advice.
Take Action when Warranted
It doesn’t matter if the alleged harasser is the best talent you have or an executive, there is no excuse for harassment, no matter who is doing it.
Don’t Believe it Couldn’t Happen to Your Company
Prevention and proactivity is the way to go. Hire third-party experts, such as RAI Resources, to conduct audits and assessments. If your corporate culture doesn’t value respect, open communication, and physical and mental safety, then you have a problem. Create a strategic solution, especially when it comes to bullying and harassment. It needs to be a clear, comprehensive, and substantive solution. It’s not enough to just have the initiatives in name only. This can work against your company should you face litigation. Educate your workforce. Training them about harassment is a great start but you need more. Companies should also educate employees about communication, team collaboration, and implicit bias issues. Create and embed a culture that doesn’t tolerate inappropriate behavior.
Solutions that Work for Your Business
The costs associated with dealing with crises such as harassment – the litigation, damaged reputation, loss of clients, customers, and investors, inability to hire and retain talent, loss of sustainability and competitive advantage – are all much greater than the cost of investing in anti-harassment policies and a culture that truly supports them.
Let RAI be your partner in developing and/or revamping your current harassment policies and education programs. Our services are heavily rooted in a practical approach to protecting your company. With years of hands-on Human Resources experience in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Professional Services, we’ll customize an effective solution that makes a difference.
RAI Resources services in the greater Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas in PA as well as central NJ. Call us now for your complimentary consultation.