Bullying was never just a high school problem. Invariably, abusive conduct grows up and becomes a problem for employers.
While California is still the only state that requires companies to address abusive conduct, creating a respectful workplace should be a priority for every company. That means providing training not just on the effects of abusive conduct, but on the kind of culture and environment that allows bullying behavior to happen.
It’s important that your HR team knows the signs of abusive conduct – a decrease in job satisfaction, lower morale, higher absenteeism, and lost productivity. However, knowing what actions to take to address bullying behavior can be much more difficult.
Abusive conduct is only one type of harassment of which your employees must be aware. California’s AB2053 refers to this kind of behavior as “malicious conduct,” that “a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” Similar to sexual harassment, a single act is not abusive “unless especially severe and egregious.” It is the severity and pervasiveness of bullying behavior that make it so important to address. Here’s what that can look like:
With a definition like that – broad, and leaving a lot of room for interpretation – your harassment prevention training can easily come under scrutiny, should an employee file charges for harassment or workplace bullying. It’s vital that you train employees and supervisors on the AB2053, and that you start doing so now.
Projections’ landmark harassment training has been keeping companies in full compliance with all training requirements since 1999. “The Respectful Workplace” eLearning is now available in versions for both managers and employees. This training meets your company’s needs in every state in which you operate and provides the consistency your company needs. More information on harassment prevention training can be found here.
No matter what products you sell or what industry you’re in, harassment prevention must be a top priority in keeping both your company and your employees safe. What works and what you need to include in that training is changing rapidly. Here is what you need to know regarding harassment prevention training in 2019.
The movement known as #metoo began in October of 2017, and the repercussions are still being felt. During the last several years, both individuals and companies have become more aware of harassment and reporting has increased dramatically both in and out of the workplace. People are more aware of the many specific forms of harassment. Protected classes include including sex, gender, disability, race, religion and age.
According to SHRM, emphasis on workplace harassment training should focus on prevention. As a manager or human resources professional, it’s your responsibility to take the necessary steps to provide the most effective harassment prevention training program possible. It’s crucial to train employees effectively to prevent any type of harassment from happening. If harassment does occur, it’s necessary that employees at all levels understand what to do and take the correct course of action.
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association reports that a Gallup poll shows both men and women take sexual harassment much more seriously than they did 20 years ago. The majority of individuals now see it as a major problem. Your employees are more sensitive to what is and isn’t considered appropriate behavior.
Along with increased sensitivity and changed perspectives, however, there has also been more confusion. Many employees are often uncertain regarding what exactly constitutes harassment, what type of language or behavior is acceptable in the workplace and exactly how to handle harassment accusations. This makes an effective training program more important than ever.
It’s necessary to understand what the different requirements are in each state and how employers with employees in multiple locations can comply. Right now there are only five states that mandate or have requirements regarding sexual harassment training. California, Connecticut, New York, Delaware and Maine have passed a variety of legislation for training employees. If your company maintains facilties in California and Illinois, for example, all employees should be trained according to the most stringent standards.
This means you’ll stay compliant while keeping all employees on the same page. Employers also need to go beyond basic legal compliance. It’s necessary to cultivate a culture of respect in the workplace. Training shouldn’t just focus on a checklist of unacceptable behaviors. It should focus on building civility and an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking out.
It’s imperative that training addresses the recent shifts in culture. It’s not only important to understand culture in our society, but to understand and change the culture in the workplace. This means that management must take a proactive approach by educating current employees and immediately training all new hires. Workforce states that training must involve much more than simply watching a video and checking a to-do box. You must create a culture at the highest levels of management and effective training provided on a fairly regular basis.
Finally, whatever training method you use, make sure there is an evaluation process in place. You need to understand what’s working and what’s not so modifications can be made for future training. Harassment prevention training is critically important to not only prevent costly lawsuits and maintain a company’s reputation, but for building a respectful and positive work environment.
With strong belief that every company can become an employer of choice, the team at Projections has been helping companies build better leaders and improve employee relations for over 4 decades. The Respectful Workplace, is a powerful and effective eLearning program designed to not only prevent harassment but help companies create a respectful and inclusive workplace.
For decades, companies have been working to protect themselves from liability by offering harassment prevention training in the workplace. Multiple states now mandate training on the topic. Many even spell out what must be covered, who must receive the training, and how long the training should be. But if your goal is simply to be in compliance with the legal requirements, you may be missing the point.
To create behavioral change at a cultural level, harassment prevention training has to be delivered in a variety of ways. Learners need to hear and see not only what is and is not acceptable, but answer questions and make decisions about what they should do. A well-planned and executed harassment prevention program creates an inclusive workplace where everyone not only feels welcome, but is able to be their most productive, most engaged self.
Many currently available harassment awareness programs are brief and leave the employee with little to think about beyond contact information for HR. True harassment prevention requires a broader cultural shift to have a lasting impact on the workplace. Effective training needs to emphasize that it’s the responsibility of all employees to take an active role in not only preventing harassment in all its forms, but in creating a respectful workplace.
It’s your company’s job to make sure every team member understands that maintaining a respectful workplace is their responsibility. It’s more than a legal issue to be avoided; it’s about feeling empowered to take action when they are confronted with bad behavior at any level. Effective training programs work when every employee feels invested in promoting a respectful workplace. But how do you do this? And why haven’t past programs been able to make it happen?
If your harassment prevention training is led by members of your HR team in a small group or “town hall” setting, you may already be setting your efforts up for failure. When employees don’t feel safe within that space, they can easily shut down and fail to internalize the information being provided. If there’s a perception that HR exists to protect the rights of the company over individual employees, then the training will be viewed as self-serving and will never succeed in creating behavioral change.
To get around this perception, some companies choose to bring in live trainers to teach harassment prevention. This sort of environment provides a neutral third party, which can add value – but the training can also be “dismissed” for the same reason if company representatives don’t seem to be actively endorsing it.
Purchasing harassment prevention training videos can be an excellent option, blending the endorsement of the company with the “expert” knowledge of a third party. But if the legal requirements for harassment training change in the states in which your company operates, you’ll need updates to those videos, quickly.
Today, interactive e-learning can provide consistent, relevant messaging that can boost engagement, reinforcing the needs of adult learners
With a diverse workforce, many companies today find it increasingly difficult to create memorable and actionable training programs for employees and managers. Creating two entirely separate programs – one for line employees and one for supervisors – is costly and time-consuming.
Some states mandate additional training for leaders and knowing what to teach each group can be difficult. Many companies choose to adopt a “one size fits all” approach and use the same content regardless of the audience, but training for supervisors, such as how to address, report or investigate a harassment claim can be inappropriate for frontline staff.
The first step in creating effective harassment prevention training for today’s workforce is recognizing that your supervisors and leaders need a targeted curriculum that addresses the specific challenges they may encounter. Generic content that merely teaches the legal aspects of harassment is not going to engage that audience or teach them actionable skills that empower them.
Different states in which you operate may have specific requirements regarding the content you must provide. For example, in California, companies must also address workplace bullying (Abusive Conduct). Make sure your employee curriculum touches on each of these requirements, and make them engaging and interactive. Try role-playing scenarios, depicting common office interactions. Make sure your both employees and leaders have an opportunity to practice the skills they learn, as reinforcement of the concepts happens not only when they see something – but when they DO something.
Remember that it’s not just about victims and perpetrators. Your company must empower bystanders and victims of third-party harassment to understand even nuanced situations and take the right action. Creating effective harassment prevention training today isn’t just about staying within the letter of the law – it’s about protecting every employee and giving them the environment they need to be productive and meet the company’s goals.
Putting together a harassment prevention training program requires a delicate balance. Employees must be made aware of the law and their responsibilities in the workplace. In the past, some have argued that these programs emphasized employment law so heavily that they taught people how to “get away with” harassing behavior and not get fired. Some studies have even shown that the wrong training can make harassment issues worse.
The tone and language of your training must include tolerance and respect for all coworkers, regardless of any protected class. Your harassment prevention will need to acknowledge that harassment occurs despite everyone’s best efforts and that your company is committed to developing processes to address issues.
Above all else, your harassment prevention program must openly demonstrate what all types of harassment look like and what a hostile working environment feels like. Only through genuine understanding of these challenges can employees and managers hope to make lasting changes.
As your company begins to work toward creating a respectful workplace, you may begin to see changes. People may be more open to one another’s ideas. They may become more productive. Fewer reports to HR may mean more time spent on taking care of all employees. Your respectful workplace can even create greater trust between employees and management, as everyone understands their roles in preventing harassment.
Employees join unions because they believe there is a lack of respectful communication between them and their employer. Sometimes there is a lack of community in the workplace, making it easy for an outside union to come in and represent employees. Unions are using social media to remain union-free and to build a community with their members and prospective targets; you need to as well.
This is where social media can be a powerful tool to help you remain union-free. The purpose of social media is to build communities and facilitate camaraderie. When done correctly, social media can enhance your employee communications, help you retain top talent, reduce costs, promote innovation and facilitate the sharing of institutional knowledge, all while improving internal communications and keeping your employees happy–two necessary elements for union avoidance.
Here are tips on using the two most powerful social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
A private Facebook group is a great way to use social media to improve employee communications. By making groups private, only individuals you invite to the group can see what you and your employees post. A private group is a great way to:
One concern is that some employees might be hesitant to share their Facebook profile with you because they do not want to blur the line between their personal and professional lives. You need to make it clear that the purpose of this program is not to gain access to the personal lives of employees, but to facilitate communication. Consider adopting a policy where information found on an employee’s Facebook wall will not be used in HR decisions.
Did you know that Twitter’s origins were actually rooted in internal corporate communication? Designed for fast, short updates, Twitter grew to be so much more than that. Now, Twitter is a public forum, and you cannot create a private area, but Twitter can still be an effective tool for employee communication, as it allows for private direct messaging between individuals. This function can allow you to quickly address internal issues privately. For this to work, you need to respond to all messages and issues, even if it is something you do not want to hear. If you only respond selectively, using Twitter in this way will be entirely ineffective and might actually hinder your mission to remain union-free.
Don’t fear using social media to create a sense of community among your employees and to remain union-free. Remember that some will participate, and some will not, and you must have other means of reaching those who don’t care for it. This can include video, websites, even dedicated eLearning programs, all of which can convey your union-free philosophy and the reasons for it.
Finally, remember the “social” part of social media – this is a two-way conversation between the company and it’s employees. In fact, it can turn into much more than that when employees start conversing with each other. Knowing that, you must maintain your social media presence with regular posts, respond in a timely way to comments and questions, and make sure those in charge of administration of these outlets are well versed in the policies and procedures you have in place. Make those policies known to all participants, and never let employees use abusive language or attack one another on any social platform.
Want to improve your social media presence for employee communications to remain union-free? The Union Proof team can help guide you on the best ways to get started! Want to see how we do it? Sign up for our Insider Network by clicking here. When you join, you can also take part in our private Facebook group and get cutting-edge tips on how to create your union proof workforce.
What makes an outstanding employee onboarding video? Of course, the content is vital – you want to make sure your new hires get inspired and confirm that their decision to come on board was a great one. But what makes your orientation video really memorable and impactful? Is it a great customer testimonial? A strong narrative? Good production values? The truth is, it’s all of the above. Here are five examples of killer onboarding videos that optimize employee orientation.
Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t rely on fancy graphics to get their message across. This simple onboarding video features franchise owner Scott Fanning, who introduces the Dunkin’ Donuts brand and explains to viewers what it’s really like to work for the company.
The video then incorporates reconstructions of several common customer service situations that new hires will find soon themselves in — serving food, communicating with customers, handling payments, etc.
Travel comparison website Trivago introduces viewers to its company culture with a behind-the-scenes look at its headquarters in Dusseldorf, Germany. This documentary-style onboarding video features a “day in the life” of new hires on their first day on the job. Essentially, new hires are watching new hires as they interact with each other and integrate into the company culture. Pieces-to-camera from members of staff punctuate the documentary footage.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a combination of on-screen graphics and pieces-to-camera to illustrate its values, objectives, and company culture. Clocking in at over seven minutes, this is one of the longest onboarding videos on this list, but it maintains the attention of viewers by explaining complicated concepts and legislation in an engaging manner.
The video is actually split into two parts: The first half explains why new hires should be proud to work for the organization, while the second half details how the agency operates.
Now for something completely different. Singapore-based software solution company Innocom Technologies has created an employee onboarding video that uses animation throughout. This colorful, creative clip features several animated slides that tell viewers about the company’s long-term strategic goals.
Innocom Technologies starts by declaring their company mission before introducing the current solutions they have incorporated into their business. Animated characters appear on screen as the company presents important information about its structure, core team, and core values. The video ends by asking viewers to contact a member of staff if they have any questions.
This onboarding video from the City of Edmonton covers a day in the life of their waste management department. With high production values, the video introduces new hires to the department’s various members of staff. It tells viewers what Waste Management Services does and what it plans to do in the future.
A narrator engages with the audience and speaks to them directly as if she were in the training room. “You’ll find out why waste staff go home at the end of each day and feel good about what they do. And soon, so will you.” With this onboarding video, the City of Edmonton has done the unthinkable. They’ve managed to make waste management exciting.
Pieces-to-camera, animation, voiceovers, graphics –the organizations above use various filming and editing techniques to introduce new hires to their company culture. These organizations all have one thing in common: They don’t skimp on production values.
Remember, your employee onboarding video could be the most crucial component of your orientation process and set the tone for an employee’s entire tenure. This is why you need to hire an experienced, professional employee communication company to produce a video that’s as good as any on this list.