In the wake of multiple high-profile allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, organisations around the world are reviewing their policies, and many are re-writing their rules of engagement when it comes to training, reporting and response procedures for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior pertaining to things like work health and safety, privacy, sexual harassment, workplace bullying and equal employment opportunity.
Policies and procedures alone do not suffice when it comes to tackling the issues of sexual harassment at work. For you to take all reasonable steps as an employer you must have both training and policies in place, that is not one, not the other, but both! This means that Sexual harassment training is a must and the reason for this is because sexual harassment training helps employees identify, report and resolve incidents of misconduct that are of a sexual nature.,
In this blog, we will talk about the top five most obvious benefits of sexual harassment training for your business, and to help answer the question: Is sexual harassment training really needed?
1. Creates positive workplace relationships
Research by Sarah Pressman of the University of California made a revealing contribution to the mortality of people. The probability of dying sooner was 20% higher for obese people, 30% higher for alcoholics, 50% higher for smokers, and a whopping 70% higher for people with poor social relationships. Sexual harassment has a detrimental effect on your employee’s health and mortality. Sexual harassment training helps people understand what is and what is not sexual harassment and gives them a clear understanding that such misconduct will not be tolerated at work. It can strengthen and develop positive professional relationships among employees and reduces stress and burnout levels which directly increases labour productivity.
2. Helps identify behaviours that constitute as workplace sexual harassment
According to the fourth telephonic survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission, 47% of the people said they were subject to behaviours that they think came under sexual harassment at the time. Sexual Harassment Training is an effective and efficient way to raise awareness of the different types of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. Training can clarify grey areas and demonstrate how inappropriate behaviour that goes unchecked can become harassment or discrimination.
3. Increases employee loyalty
When management makes workplace compliance training such as sexual harassment, workplace bullying and discrimination mandatory for all employees during induction and on a regular basis thereafter, it sends a message that preventing sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviours is important and will not be tolerated. More than that the employees will feel cared for and work more productively.
4. Reduces legal liabilities
If an employee takes legal action for sexual harassment against a co-worker, your organisation will be questioned about whether your employees have undergone training about anti-harassment laws. If they find out that no training has been provided, your organisation can face huge monetary penalties and this may affect your organisation’s reputation, stakeholder value, employee turnover rates, along with the loss of big bucks. So often forgotten is the test of ‘all reasonable steps’ which includes having policies in place and that you are also providing training to staff at induction and on a regular basis.
5. Encourages reporting of incidents of sexual harassment
Only 17% of the sexual harassment victims report, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission report. This means that 83% of incidents can go un-noticed by supervisors, managers and the executive until it is too late. Training is an effective tool for educating and encouraging employees to report incidents or potential problems. It is a direct way to explain to them the complaint procedure and also increase awareness of your organisation’s policy on sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviours.
When we start to consider the benefits of providing appropriate workplace compliance training it makes investing in workplace sexual harassment training a no brainer. Not only does it show your employees that you are trying to do the right thing for them, but it also protects your business that could save you thousands of dollars in investigations and claims for vicarious liability, keeping your stakeholder value afloat, retaining employees and safeguarding the credibility of your brand.
Not sure where to start when it comes to sexual harassment training in the Australian workplace? Read more articles here. Or call us on 1300 040 589 to access sexual harassment training for your business today.