On February 14, love is in the air. Remember being in elementary school where you brought in a Valentine’s card for everyone in your class? Maybe you decorated a shoebox to be your mailbox in the classroom. In high school, this tradition may have transitioned. Maybe you bought a flower for your boyfriend or girlfriend to be presented in class. In any case, there has always been an awkward component to this Hallmark holiday, and in your office things can get even more surreal.
Have you taken time to have a look at your workplace harassment policies lately? Now is as good a time as ever to lock it down. Here’s how and why.
Have a Formalized Policy
The first step in any successful office policy is to make sure it is formalized and legally viable. Work with a professional to ensure that your company handbook includes harassment policies and that the language is clear and concise.
Offer Multiple Methods of Reporting
There are lots of reasons people don’t report harassment in the workplace, and sometimes it has to do with the policies themselves. For instance, make sure you have multiple options for reporting inappropriate behavior. If the person to whom harassment is to be reported is the harasser, the policy has already failed. Create multiple points of contact for your safety and the safety of everyone in your office.
Always Take Concerns Seriously
Part of the reason the country is reacting to the Me Too movement now is because concerns are finally being listened to. For example, in Hollywood, it was an “open secret” that Harvey Weinstein often made these inappropriate advances. Since everyone knew but no one did anything about it, it made it difficult for the women affected to feel like they had any power. As a company, you need to take any and all concerns very seriously.
Act On Any Infractions
After you have conducted thorough investigations of any claims, the next step is to take action. If the evidence is substantial and you have concerns about the welfare of your employees, you may want to skip disciplinary action and eliminate the individual’s position with your company.
Don’t Be Complacent
Too many companies are choosing to stick their heads in the sand over this issues. But if you want to effect real change, it’s time to say Me Too rather than Not Us. Just because you don’t perceive any issues in your workplace doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Invite an objective third party to provide a diversity audit and help you better understand the needs of your workplace.
Have you revisited your workplace harassment policies? Contact Harvard Resource Solutions to learn more today.