Effective, high-quality training can dramatically reduce the likelihood of wrongful conduct within the workplace. Organisations need to take well planned and deliberate steps to educate the workforce on often misunderstood and sensitive issues such as sexual harassment.
Training defined by your code of conduct: A training programme built around a well-defined code of conduct fine-tuned to the organisation’s values can help instill greater understanding and awareness around the many different forms of sexual harassment. In order to communicate this to all areas of the organisation, from factory workers to board members, continuous training and compliance messaging will be key.
The critical topics of a sexual harassment training programme: Cover the emerging issues around sexual harassment such as respect in the workplace, civility training, gender expression and identity, and don't forget about the risks that social media and technology can bring to the workplace. The objective of your harassment training should be to drive changes in behaviour around sexual harassment so that employees can identify problems and feel confident in applying their knowledge.
Segment your audience: Segmenting your audience allows you to undertake specialist training and communicate your anti-sexual harassment programme messages more effectively. Start with simple groupings: employees, senior leaders, managers, the board of directors and third parties. Then consider refining by location, facility, and new hires.
Determine the right timing: Deciding how often to provide your training and send out your communications is not an exact science but there are best practices that you can follow. Be sensitive to busy times, leave time to digest the content and re-iterate your core messages. Offering annual courses and short refresher courses is recommended.
Choose your communication and training methods: Training and communication methods can be formal and informal. Live and on-line training, focus groups, town halls and annual reports are all relevant examples. Make use of supplementary materials such as posters and experiment with new trends such as videos and podcasts.
Designate owners and document: Your sexual harassment training plan will need owners. Make someone accountable for content, delivery and execution. Archive your training and communications materials and measure your outcomes and attestation data to know if you are meeting your objectives.
Making an impact with awareness programmes: At the heart of any compliance activity is an awareness programme. Ensure your employees and staff know how to access and use the resources you have provided including your code of conduct and anti-sexual harassment policies.