Why Sexual Harassment Training?
At this point in our cultural conversation around sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, you’ve probably heard stories about the fear struck into the hearts of men… by women.
Men are worried about going on trips with female coworkers. They are worried about meetings alone with female colleagues. (We’ll ignore the fact that women have been worried about this throughout time-- for very different reasons). They are worried that they can no longer tell jokes at work. They are worried that a comment about a coworker’s appearance might be viewed as harassment.
I have recently had conversations with men who expressed that they were worried that the #MeToo movement would actually hurt women because male supervisors might not provide them with opportunities to advance due to fear of working with them. To some this might sound both patronizing and discriminatory. To others, this might sound like a very real and logical response for managers or supervisors as a means to prevent sexual harassment claims.
We’ll spend another (okay, probably many) blog(s) unpacking all of that. But let’s address the fear and the solution to the fear.
Are there ways to prevent sexual harassment without having to physically separate men and women?
Separation is not helpful. No one is winning when men are fearful (more about the very low frequency of false accusations here, here, and here) and women are held back in their careers because of this false fear.
So, how do we move past fear and towards something more beneficial for everyone? The solution: a sexual harassment training! (yes, I even used an exclamation point-- I am that excited!) These trainings have gotten a bad rap and for good reason. In the past they often involved poorly acted corporate videos and dry legal-eze. And with technology, now many corporate trainings are even worse. They are often fully online with even less engaging content and zero interaction with colleagues or trainers.
Yes, businesses can legally “check the box” with these types of trainings. But research has also shown this type of training, (and especially a training done with the sole purpose of “checking the box”) to be lacking in efficacy, without improving the work environment and without decreasing the likelihood of a sexual harassment claim.
But sexual harassment trainings can be very effective if they are done right!
What is needed in order for a sexual harassment training to be effective? More about that to come! Want to read more about why sexual harassment training is important? You can dig a little deeper here.