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Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:33

Six Steps to Creating an Inclusive Workplace in a #MeToo World

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Guest Article by Reagan Freed, Principal Consultant for Solvere HR Consulting
Sexual harassment claims are rising at an alarming rate. The need for immediate action in response to these trends should be a priority for every organization.
The growing “#MeToo” movement has given employees a platform to share their story and callout misconduct in the workplace. These shared experiences are prompting increased openness about discussing the issue and will continue to give employees the confidence to bring forward claims that they may not have had the courage to do so previously. If your organization hasn’t had a claim, it doesn’t necessarily mean your current work environment will be safe from future claims.  

What You Should Do Right Now. This is a critical time for organizations to take a hard look at their culture, workplace behaviors, and policies to proactively assess areas of risk. Read more for the six steps every organization should take right now to protect their employees and the organization from distracting workplace behaviors and expensive legal claims: 
  1. Online harassment training isn’t enough. Offering customized, onsite training sessions provide employers the opportunity to reinforce their organization’s core values, reflect their cultural norms and share examples that are relevant to their work environment. 
  2. It’s not just employees and management who need training. The HR team itself needs continued professional development on leading effective investigations to avoid legal missteps and ensure that each party is treated fairly and objectively throughout the process. 
  3. Conflict resolution is a core competency. Should an employee become uncomfortable with the behaviors of coworker, being able to tell them directly that they prefer not to engage in those discussions in the workplace may be enough to quash the issue. To build this skill in your organization, employers should complement harassment prevention trainings with conflict resolution and active listening skill development sessions. 
  4. Now is not the time for outdated and ineffective policies. If there was ever a time to ensure your policies are legally compliant and effective, now is that time. Follow these four tips to ensure your policy is effective: 
    • Avoid legal-ease
    • Use examples
    • Have a multi-option complaint policy
    • Extend expectations and protections to customer, clients, vendors, or contractors 
  5. Reinforcing a culture of respect. Organizations should consider how respect and inclusivity are expressly valued in their workplace. If respect and inclusivity are not currently captured in your organization’s core value statement, should they be?
  6. Top-level executive engagement. To set the tone for the organization, top-level executives should quickly engage by reinforcing the organization’s commitment to a harassment-free work environment and broadly communicate the launch of a company-wide anti-harassment campaign.
Interested in learning more? Please join Reagan Freed and Fall River in a webinar to address this hot topic and what you can do to proactively assess your level of risk and implement these steps.  You can also reach out to your Fall River Account Manager at any time with questions. 
Read 2246 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 December 2017 15:44
Juliet Fitzgibbons

Juliet joins Fall River as an Account Executive and brings over 15 years of prior broker and account management experience. Her experience brings extensive knowledge on employee benefit programs, account management and creative cost-saving strategies and compliance solutions for employers of various sizes.

She is responsible for new business proposals, client renewals including plan benchmarking, rate analysis and mid-year reviews. She helps clients navigate healthcare systems and educates employers and employees through open enrollment meetings and day-to-day service requests. Juliet joined Fall River in 2015.