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Tag: company values

After #MeToo: Communicating Your Workplace Harassment Policy

In the wake of widespread media reports of sexual harassment, what is your business doing ensure a safe and accountable workplace?  Consider this: the #MeToo hashtag was shared more than 1 million times in just 48 hours after being posted to social media. The public debate continues as others are empowered to share their stories.

This is not a new issue. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 94% of U.S. companies have harassment and/or bullying policies that outline conduct that is prohibited. But if you think having a policy is enough, think again.  A 2016 EEOC study of workplace harassment revealed that policies alone do not encourage appropriate behavior. The study reported that approximately 90% of survey participants who experienced sexual harassment never file a complaint.

This is a unique, timely moment to be very clear about workplace harassment. It benefits everyone to make this a priority in your business. When employees experience a safe and welcoming workplace, they perform at their best and drive business performance.  As you review this issue internally, consider these communication best practices.

Review and update the existing Harassment Policy

Start by examining the current policy. When was the last time it was reviewed and updated?  If it’s been more than five years, it’s too old.  The policy should, at a minimum, list examples of prohibited conduct, detail the process for reporting objectionable conduct, and be signed by the current CEO. Then ensure that the policy, and the reporting process, is accessible.  Bottom line: let employees know where to go for help.

Time for leaders to speak out

Every leader must be accountable. Let employees hear directly from the C-Suite that harassment will not be tolerated. Human Resources can support this endeavor, but can’t shoulder it alone. Executives must step up and commit that when allegations are brought, they will be investigated immediately and that appropriate actions will follow.  Convey that retaliation is prohibited since many cases are unreported due to fears of job loss or reprisals.

Train. Train. Train.

Most companies provide online harassment training, but do you mandate that training is completed? Is harassment addressed in new employee orientation? Training will ensure a better understanding of the behaviors that comprise harassment. Additionally, the HR team must be prepared and ready to conduct prompt, objective and thorough investigations.

Amplify the message through internal communications

If an employee experiences sexual harassment–or witnesses it–do they know what steps to take? Make it easy for individuals to report. Use multiple channels to share the harassment policy and reporting procedure. Talk about it in town halls, blogs, create a video from the CEO and put a link to the policy on the home page of your company intranet. Make it loud so that everyone understands that harassment is unacceptable in your company culture.

Using Instagram as a Corporate Tool

What do you think of when you hear the word “corporate?” Tailored suits, boxy skyscrapers, and leather briefcases are a few things that come to mind for most. That conception is often deceiving.

Image of social media icons on a phone including Instagram

Corporate workplaces can be vibrant and cultured spaces. If you need proof, find photos of the corporate offices for companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft.

And that’s where Instagram comes in. The app gives us a medium to share our company’s core values in a way that’s fun, engaging, and human. Obviously we don’t all have the resources to spend lavishly on our office buildings like the “giants.” We can’t Instagram a slide in our office that goes from the HR break room to Reception. However, we can Instagram the delight on a colleague’s face after he or she acquires new business with a client.

The role of Instagram isn’t to show off, per se, but to share what your company is all about. When we think of it as a “tool,” it’s easy to be too strict with its usage.  Go ahead, take that photo of some colleagues at a sporting event. Instagram the great holiday treats a client dropped off for you in the break room. Just please don’t Instagram your lunch.

I often hear conversations held by Gen X’ers or older about how to engage the Millenials. Well, as someone who is right on the edge of their generational borderline, I can say this: They’re more willing to support a company that they feel shares a similar set of values. Whether those values be social, moral or political, Instagram offers a way to share who you are.

Remember, don’t Instagram your lunch!

What do you think? Share your insights and ideas with Joe: Joe.Patrick@insight-communication.com

Social media image courtesy of Jason Howie under Creative Commons license.