Five Strategies to Address Workplace Harassment

Addressing workplace harassment is crucial to creating a safe and respectful work environment. We often overlook situations or shrug them off, which can add more toxicity to the workplace. Below are five strategies that can help address workplace harassment:

  1. Implement Clear Policies and Procedures: Create clear and comprehensive policies that explicitly define what constitutes harassment, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach. We need to explain this approach to instill psychological safety versus fear. People feel that if there is a zero-tolerance approach, people will get fired if they report something. This can cause a lot of stress and fear, so explain the zero-tolerance policy clearly and discuss the remedial actions the organization has set to address incidents. Ensure these policies are readily accessible to all employees and provide a straightforward procedure for reporting incidents of harassment. So, being clear about what will happen when an incident is reported and what action steps will occur can help employees feel more comfortable with the reporting process.
  2. Provide Training and Education: Regularly conduct training sessions to educate employees on what constitutes harassment, its impact, and how to prevent it. Training programs should also cover bystander intervention techniques, empowering employees to speak up if they witness harassment. For Chicago, you need a one-hour employee training, a one-hour bystander training, and a two-hour manager training.
  3. Encourage Reporting and Establish Confidential Channels: Foster a culture that encourages employees to report incidents of harassment without fear of retaliation. Establish multiple reporting channels, including anonymous options, to ensure confidentiality and safety for employees who come forward. Make sure your reporting channels are clear and easy to access. Share the incident report forms and ensure they are easily accessible on the employee portal or in the employee manual. Often employees don’t know where to access the information and might be overwhelmed. This can lead to fewer incidents being reported and more toxic behavior taking place in your organization.
  4. Conduct Thorough Investigations: When a complaint is filed, promptly initiate a thorough and unbiased investigation to gather relevant facts. Involve a neutral party, such as HR or an external investigator, to ensure impartiality. Provide regular updates to the individuals involved and take appropriate action based on the investigation’s findings. Removing bias is critical for the investigation.
  5. Enforce Consequences and Provide Support: If harassment is substantiated, take appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator, up to and including termination. Additionally, provide support to the victim, including counseling services, resources, and measures to prevent retaliation. Communicate the consequences clearly to reinforce the company’s commitment to a harassment-free workplace. It is important to learn more about remedial actions to address each situation with the best strategy to ensure employee safety and increase psychological safety in your organization.

It is crucial for organizations to regularly review and update their harassment prevention strategies to foster a culture of respect and ensure employee well-being. Encouraging open communication and promptly addressing issues can help create a safe and inclusive work environment. We hope this added value and insight to better-understanding workplace harassment.

Please reach out if you need tools, resources, coaching, or training.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Kortney Peagram