Harassment can be in the form of outright bullying, unwelcome sexual attention, or psychological, physical, and verbal attacks. It is a serious matter that can be potentially dangerous to your employees’ overall mental, physical and emotional health. Furthermore, harassment can result to poor performance and behavior, and may even force the victims to leave work for good. So, how can harassment be prevented or controlled in the workplace, and how can you help employees or colleagues that have already become victims of harassment?
Safety talks regarding harassment that are extensive, timely, and frequently conducted will help eradicate or at least lessen any form of harassment employees are often subjected to in the workplace. Through such talks, both the victims and perpetuators can be advised and educated properly on all areas covering harassment.
Less is not always more
In conducting safety talks about harassment, you do not have to glaze over the details. In fact, it is important that you are very meticulous, making sure that nothing crucial is overlooked. Remember that this involves your employees’ overall health and welfare. A happy, comfortable and reassured employee is a productive, high-performing employee. Make sure that you in stil to each employee the importance of identifying the different types of harassment, their consequences, how to avoid them, and what to do if one experiences them.
Keep it timely and up-to-date
Your safety talks on harassment should be timely and cover updated topics; otherwise, it would be pointless to conduct them at all. For instance, if you’re going to discuss sexual harassment, make sure that the details represent what is actually happening in reality. This could be about sexual harassment using different mediums such as social media or mobile communication devices, not just through face-to-face interaction. Remember that as things become more advanced, so do crimes, other offences, and the people committing them. The good news is as a victim, you can also use these advanced methods to report or escalate a harassment issue.
Make it regular and official
It doesn’t matter if employees get tired of hearing about the importance of discussing harassment in safety talks. This is not only for the benefit of tenured employees, but also for the newly hired ones who need to be equally informed. It is important that you regularly conduct discussions on harassment and make it official to show that this kind of act is not tolerated in the workplace.
Furthermore, in a hectic work environment, even tenured employees can forget and become misinformed about the subject of harassment. Conducting regular talks on harassment can help remind or re-educate even old employees.
Encourage employees to speak up
Safety talks are the perfect venue to raise issues as they happen so that people in authority can make the appropriate action. It is also a way of promoting self-confidence to victims since they can get immediate support and help from other colleagues. The more people get involved, the lesser the burden it will be for the victims of harassment. They can share their experiences to others to appease themselves and at the same time, provide advice to other employees on how to avoid and fight against harassment.
Of course, as a manager or employer, it is important that you involve yourself directly in these harassment cases, especially if it concerns your direct employee. Conducting discussions on this sensitive issue is just the first step; you also have to make sure that you follow through and are available to support and help the victims as much as you can. Teach them how to say no to harassment—and actually mean it.