Go online, turn on the television or radio, open a newspaper, and there’s another report about sexual harassment. Once a topic to breeze over in human resource training or discuss behind closed doors, it is now headline news. But will the allegations sweeping through the American business world bring about changes that many agree have long been needed?

A recent report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that “approximately 90% of individuals who say they have experienced harassment never take formal action.” Let’s look at that statistic again: only 10% of the men and women who feel they have been sexually harassed in the workplace ever file a complaint with the EEOC. Even with such a low reporting rate, from 2010 through 2016, employers have had to pay $824.2 million to employees alleging harassment through the Commission’s administrative enforcement pre-litigation process alone. 

The total costs encompass a wide range of consequences and are difficult to calculate. From out-of-court settlements to low morale, costly litigation to damaged brand image, the impacts can be devastating.

 

So why has harassment in the workplace gone virtually unchecked for so long?

 

Many would tell you that “it’s just the ways things were.”  Suffice it to say, it’s a topic that companies have failed miserably at addressing. The implementation of mandatory training and anti-harassment policies may help limit employer liability but, unfortunately, has proven ineffective in reducing sexual misconduct incidents. Sure, there may be a better understanding of what harassment is and how to report it, but most training programs do little, if anything, to change inappropriate workplace behaviors.

Standard Training Is Not Enough

 

The recent media attention has caused organizations to realize that simply having policies and informational trainings are not enough. While the EEOC continues to support anti-harassment policies, it now recommends that trainings be designed as part of a “holistic effort” specific to a company’s needs.

In order to succeed, commitment to a harassment-free work environment must be embraced by leadership. With proper training, managers play an invaluable role in shaping an appropriate corporate culture. Influenced by foreboding media reports or not, top executives are more open to one-on-one coaching, recognizing it as a key factor in implementing positive changes.

Sexual harassment can be expensive for any organization. In addition to the hard costs associated with hefty fines and settlements, there can be negative impacts on employee morale and productivity, higher staff turnover, and damage to the company’s reputation. As leaders of an anti-harassment culture, executives can benefit from customized one-on-one training in creating a safe workplace. No longer are these programs simply something “nice to do.” Coaching has proven to promote better leadership, be instrumental in increasing productivity, support a positive work environment, and contribute to the overall health of the organization.

Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.

 

 

 

~ U. Thant  

 

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITY

COACHING

 

What Hand & Associates offers with our high-touch, one-on-one Executive Responsibility Coaching:

 

· A customized and confidential way of dealing with issues that confront executives in both their interpersonal and decision-making lives.

 

· A preemptive approach designed to optimize emotional intelligence and management skills in order to align their personal presence with the culture of the company.

 

· Assistance in protecting the executive, the company, and reducing detraction and litigation.

 

· The potential to improve productivity, results, and overall employee job satisfaction.

 

This will be an important initiative for 2018. Let’s talk soon about how we can help you with a custom plan designed to produce real, measurable results this year.