Tackling Sexual Harassment at the Workplace…proactively
2018 has witnessed trying times for many corporates around varied forms of harassment at the workplace, most notable being Sexual Harassment. There have been different approaches that companies have adopted to counter this menace at the workplace, the most effective of all being timely sensitisation of employees on this topic.
Additionally, many corporations also have begun to introspect on how to deal with this proactively – maybe best possible by creating positive reinforcement of company values and behaviour at workplace. Since work in general, and manager-employee relationships in particular, can be a natural breeding ground for harassment, an important question today is: What steps can companies take to prevent it?
Here are a couple of practical steps companies can take:
Start at the Top - Taking the lead on preventing sexual harassment needs to come from the very top of an organization. Not from the Chief Operating Officer, not from the Group Head of HR, but the CEO. We all know how much influence a CEO has, and he or she needs to make it absolutely clear that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment. For instance, if the message comes only from Human Resources, it may or may not be as effective.
Build it into every manager's performance expectations – Sexual Harassment could occur anywhere in an organization. So, what can a company do to drive awareness down through all levels? One practical solution could be to build zero-tolerance to harassment-related language into every manager's performance objectives. Making ‘zero room for mistakes’ an explicit expectation has a way of getting people's attention. Also, every manager must be tasked to speak on this topic in their huddles and meetings to ensure appropriate messaging.