The #MeToo movement should not be ignored in the business world. The campaign has organizations rethinking how they handle sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. A culture shift is happening, and women are speaking out against behavior they may have brushed aside in the past. Is your company prepared for this new office environment?
The “Weinstein effect”opens the floodgates
After several women accused the movie producer Harvey Weinstein of being a serial sexual predator, the #MeToo movement became a part of the national conversation. As actresses shared their stories, their revelations created a ripple effect that emboldened victims to start speaking out against other powerful men in Hollywood, the media, politics and business.
Human Resources departments have taken note of this rise of awareness on sexual harassment. Here are a few steps you can take to focus on enforcement and increase your training offerings:
- Update your training: Get proactive in evaluating your existing policies. It is a smart move for businesses to take concrete steps that make your workplace a safe and welcoming place for every employee. Revisit the instructional videos and written manuals to see if they are outdated and in need of a refresh. An experienced human resources consultant that provide a fresh set of eyes on your department’s materials.
- Don’t ignore the rumors: It is also important to take workplace rumors seriously. For years before the Weinstein allegations became public, there were several stories about him in the industry, even jokes on popular TV shows. Encourage your staff to report any troubling gossip, and provide clear instructions on how to file a complaint.
- Change starts with you: A company’s senior leaders are responsible for setting a positive tone in the office. Send a clear message that sexual harassment is unacceptable, and there will be severe consequences for inappropriate behavior.
Take action now rather than later, and seek professional help if you don't know how to implement changes.