On October 15, 2017, a five-letter hashtag set the world on fire and brought to light, the overwhelming epidemic of sexual harassment and assault that has plagued our communities, workplaces, and organizations. Reflecting on the changes that have occurred over the last three years, there is clearly so much more work to be done.
People talk about it.
The good: Awareness, hands-down, has been the biggest positive to come out of the #metoo movement. It's made sexual harassment and assaults a topic of conversation. It's no longer only spoken in hushed voices with the closest of friends.
The bad: Since we've talked about it, many believe that sexual harassment isn't an issue anymore. Which is FALSE. Over the last few years, harassment claims have stayed pretty consistent.
Employees demand change.
The good: Uniting together, employees are demanding that their employers take real, actionable steps to protect their workplaces. Google workers hosted a walkout demanding that their employer respond to their demands.
The bad: Companies have completely failed as they've struggled to respond to employee demands. While organizations could easily create an action plan and assign leaders specific duties and tasks. What we've seen typically is a response from leadership that is more similar to a list of to-dos (and we all know that there are some things we put on our list and never actually get around to doing).
People begin to do LOTS of research.
The good: Since the #metoo movement, we've seen big moves in the arena of sexual harassment research; finding out details of how it not only shows up in the workplace but how it impacts our employees. This has been excellent as we look at what makes harassment training effective. And can also be a little depressing when we learn about all the negative effects it has on our workers.
The bad: There is still so much left to discover and learn. *sitting on the edge of our seats*
Employees are getting training.
The good: Companies across the globe began implementing training for their teams, updating what they were currently offering, and investing in providing employees with education.
The bad: They're using the same ineffective training methods that have been in use since the 1980s. YIKES! Just like that perm (or mullet) you sported back then, some things are better left in the past. What we do know, is that the best type of training focuses on empowering employees to be active bystanders.
States implemented required training.
The good: Currently, seven states* require sexual harassment training. A huge move in the right direction.
The bad: States like California and New York provide training resources for employers to use, unfortunately, they're based on those same ineffective training methods mentioned above. Not good.
But all is not lost. The #metoo movement has and still is providing us with an opportunity to make a positive change for our teams.
Your first step is to take a look at your current training resources.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you review what you have in place.
Does the training focus on how to be an active bystander and how to help eliminate harassment?
Is the training interactive? And we mean, more than a click through the pages, answer questions we could all answer in our sleep, really you're just practicing your multi-tasking skills, approach?
Do employees have an opportunity to ask questions and give their feedback?
Do you get an opportunity to hear your employees talk about the issues they face in their workplace?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it's time to implement something new. Your employees will thank you for it!
We MUST take action and we must be okay with change. It's okay to throw out what you've been doing for the last decade and start over fresh. The #metoo movement gave us all an opportunity to focus on a difficult topic, now it's our responsibility to implement programs, resources, and training that will help employees navigate sexual harassment.
We can create change - and it starts with having a conversation.
Define the Line is on a mission to eliminate workplace harassment. Utilizing a comic book training tool, they're empowering employees to speak up, define the line, and eliminate harassment once and for all.
*Washington state requires training for certain industries.