A recent report from the American Psychological Association notes that only 7% of workers report that their company has held a town hall or all staff meeting to talk about harassment in the workplace. If you haven't started the conversation with your company, there are a few reasons why you should:
- You are signaling to your company that preventing harassment is a priority, you take the issue seriously and you're prepared to handle inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
- The earlier you can deal with any problems that arise, the better.
- It's a chance to reinforce the message that there won't be any retaliation for speaking up, which is an oft-given reason why people don't report harassment.
As you prepare to have a discussion with your staff on organization-wide anti-harassment policies and procedures, you should make sure you're ready to have the discussion. Here's a list of items businesses should consider, from updating policies and procedures to reviewing training needs.
And here's a sample all-staff email to use as a template.
I'm writing today to share an update on our organizational commitment to a harassment-free workplace. Over the last few months we have been reviewing our policies and procedures to make sure we're doing what's needed to prevent harassment in the workplace. Here are the key items I want you to be aware of.
- Our anti-harassment policy can be found here. Please read it, think about it. If something's not clear, I want to know. These protections are for all our employees.
- If you're aware of harassing behavior, please talk to your supervisor, the HR director or the legal department, immediately.
- We're reviewing our training practices for staff and for managers to make sure our anti-harassment workshops meet our needs and that they reflect our organizational culture of respect for one another.
- We'll have a chance to talk about the anti-harassment policy, our procedures and training needs as part our next all staff meeting.
The bottom line is that neither discrimination, nor harassment, nor retaliation is tolerated. If we determine that an instance of harassment has occurred, it will be met with prompt corrective action.
I want everyone here to be able to do their best work, unimpeded by harassment. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.