Did you know:

  • 1 in 3 women has experienced sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, at some point in their lives.
  • 9% of men in Australia have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Sexual harassment can occur in any workplace

Yet many companies are still not sure how to address training and policy roll out to address sexual harassment in the workplace and are making mistakes that can have profound consequences to both the individual health of their employees and their business. In this blog, we outline the five most common mistakes that you will want to avoid when rolling out a workplace compliance system to prevent sexual harassment in your workplace.

1. Lack of Clarity

When it comes to sexual harassment the most problematic thing is the inability to identify the behaviours that count as sexual harassment. According to Australian Sexual Harassment Commission 47% of the people that denied being sexually harassed when showed the legal definition confirmed to have been subjected to behaviours in the workplace that are considered as sexual harassment.

2. Not User-Friendly

Whilst sexual harassment training and policies must be written in accordance with the appropriate legislation for the relevant states/territories that you engage in business, they mustn’t be riddled with heavy and complex legalese that is difficult to digest for your staff. Instead of heavy and complex legalise, it is important to provide short, sharp and to the point, definitions of key legal components and that you focus on the three key factors of how to identify, report and resolve situations. Your staff will also be related to relevant scenarios and examples to help them contextualise the key points more engagingly.

3. It Takes Too Long

Our attention spans are short and there are a lot of distractions in the workplace. Therefore it is important to keep your sexual harassment training course to less than 30 minutes. The goal is to make training content and presentation interesting and have your employees retain as much information. Having long workplace compliance courses is the biggest reason for low completion rates by the employees. However, in the attempt to make things quick, some organisations go over the top using short cut methods such as assessments that reduce the training content, which is not recommended because the idea with repeat training as a refresher is to get us to contemplate the same topics over and over again as to embed key points and have us reflect on where we are at that point in our career. Common sense based questions that allow us to short cut this experience is not suggested and it could also look poorly in the eyes of the law if you are dealing with a worst-case scenario!

4. Not Training Everyone

If you do not train everyone in your organisation it sends a message that the training is not a priority and is not that important. For example, some organisations only train new starters, but forget to refresh everyone else. Other organisations may choose not to train managers and executives, when in fact, the more senior the role the more important it is to have a clear understanding of things like bullying, harassment and discrimination and how to identify, report and resolve incidents that occur in the workplace. Not just for themselves but for those that they are responsible for.

5. Not Updating Policies and Training on an Ongoing Basis

Taking all reasonable steps means having both policies and training in place and that people get this at induction and on an ongoing basis. Far too many organisations think they have ticked the box by rolling out policies and a bit of training at induction, when in fact regular re-freshers are a must. Each year would be best practice for refresher rollouts, or as legislation changes or you make amendments to your workplace policies.

Given the importance of topics such as workplace bullying, sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity, it is required that frequent and ongoing training is required and that as you update your workplace policies these are also communicated, as well as verifying sign off by all staff.in summary, please make sure that your sexual harassment training program doesn’t become a one-time event to be forgotten.

Australian businesses need to take the correct steps to train their staff with regards to sexual harassment, what it is, how to identify it, how to report and resolve incidents that may occur in the workplace. Implementing an effective sexual harassment training program which includes online workplace courses, policy roll and clear reporting of completions across the organization has become a not negotiable. It is also crucial that sexual harassment training is conducted ongoing so that no one loses awareness of its importance and to reinforce that it will not be tolerated within your organisation

An Investment with Unimaginable Returns…

Investing in sexual harassment training programs like the online courses that Sentrient provides will make a noticeable difference in your workplace, by reducing the likelihood of incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination and presenting a better vision for your staff to do the right thing.

For more information about the Sentrient online workplace compliance system please read more, you can also call us on 1300 040 589 for any questions or to have a confidential discussion with one of our team

*Based on a survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2012, which found that bullying, harassment, and discrimination continues to be a serious problem in Australian workplaces.