Harassment at the workplace can ruin the experience and shatter the team’s integrity for the whole business. The mere chance of being harassed as a worker makes it unsafe for people to stay a part of the collective. Naturally, such a context for the workplace will impact the team’s performance and job satisfaction in general.
Clearly, the responsibility for a healthy work environment lies greatly on the head of the business or the team. It is in their power to either create a respectful and enjoyable environment for their employees or ignore the problem and jeopardize the well-being of their team. In the case of harassment appearing in the group, it can damage the whole business, and here are the consequences it brings:
• The company becomes less attractive for new talents since people will not feel safe working there.
• The business may lose investors or potential investors. As a result, the company can carry financial losses.
• Harassment brings reputational issues to the business.
Generally speaking, harassment at work makes the whole company a bit less handshakable. There are still a lot of harassment-related issues for businesses to fight, but the positive change starts with the boss. Thus, here are some recommendations on how to combat this problem in the workplace.
How to Prevent Harassment at Work
Fighting social issues that were constructed for ages takes a systemic approach. Thus, here are practices and tips for managers to make their business a safe space.
Train the Employees
Naturally, all the employees must follow the rules. However, for the rules to be common, they must be stated and accessible. The code of conduct is a good way to formalize rules and communicate them to the employees. It may be introduced as an obligatory read or taught at educational events with professionals like lawyers or HR managers.
If the workplace has a well-developed code of conduct, all the rules on what is appropriate and professional in interpersonal communication will be clear for all the employees. The best way to keep the staff’s knowledge relevant is to hold educational events regularly.
Incorporate the Fight Against Harassment into Onboarding
The values and principles of the company must be communicated from the first days of the laborers at the job. For that reason, the principles of conduct must be included in the onboarding process of new employees. Naturally, people that come to a company have different backgrounds, so the manager’s job is to communicate what is acceptable and what is not. Rules of conduct are as important as the hard skills the newcomers learn in the new place. Hence, the HR department should ensure a healthy and respectful environment in the company.
Make Reporting Safe
In some cases, harassment cannot be avoided with prevention and education, which is why a company must have the mechanics of handling harassment that has already taken place. The first thing to do in this direction is to ensure the employees have a channel to report the violation. Based on the processes that work best for the company size, that can be an anonymous form, an email box, or a dedicated professional that the employee can approach.
It is also important for the company to punish the guilty and ensure that the victim feels comfortable working there.
Detect Risks at the Interview Stage
The recruiter must figure out whether the person is fit for the job when they send a job application and land an interview. While it is more of a direct manager’s responsibility to assess the hard skills of the applicant, the hiring manager’s task is to ensure they comply with the company’s values and vision. Naturally, if the recruiter sees that a candidate does not value respect for people’s boundaries, they may cause trouble in the future. Hence, it is best to prevent harassment by not employing people prone to it.
Be the Ambassador of the Respect
As the head of the company, one has to be an example of compliance with all the policies declared in the code of conduct. It means that the employees look at their head or manager and follow their example, so the behavior must be exemplary. The boss needs to be the first in the representation of this compliance. If the manager themselves shows disrespect to the code of conduct or the boundaries of other members in the collective, they cannot expect obedience from their subordinates.
React to Cases of Harassment
Just like the boss must show respect to the code of conduct, they also must handle the cases that take place accordingly. For example, suppose there is an occurrence of harassment in their company. In that case, they must listen to the victim, investigate the case, punish the perpetrator, and make this case a lesson to others. As the issue was not prevented, an appropriate reaction is necessary to ensure it will not happen again.
Such a reaction is necessary to defend the respectful values of the company and ensure it remains a safe space for those who may be affected.
Drop the Victim Blaming
Victims of harassment at work often face disbelief, dismissal, victim blaming, and mocking for a thing that was not their fault. However, the boss’s duty is to ensure it does not happen to the person who has already had enough stress. Hence, it is crucial to take every harassment report seriously and react accordingly.
To Sum It Up
Unfortunately, cases of harassment do take place at work. Society has already undergone immense growth regarding its perception, handling, and communication of the consequences. The best way for the manager to ensure their space is harassment-free is to work on preventing and punishing harassment. The manager’s job is to introduce effective policies that protect their staff from inappropriate behavior. If you decide to change your job, be free to use a help from TopResume.