What you’ll read:
- Sexual harassment plagues many industries
- A solution to inoculate your culture against harassment
- What needs to change on the inside
Many of the recent high-profile sexual harassment scandals have come from the entertainment industry, but that doesn’t mean that other industries are immune from its damaging effects. All job industries suffer from workplace safety and culture issues, but AllenComm’s Core Reflection Tool offers a universal, person-focused strategy for improving awareness and behavior so all industries can benefit from sexual harassment training that works.
Sexual Harassment Is Everyone’s Problem
According to new research published by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy institute, sexual harassment is most common in industries that employ large numbers of women in low-wage jobs. Between 2005 and 2015, the industries that generated the most sexual harassment complaints were food services, retail, manufacturing, and health care. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in 2016, they received 6,758 total charges alleging sexual harassment in the workplace, 83.4% of which were filed by females, which resulted in over $40 million in monetary benefits to the victims who won their cases.
This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. Though the EEOC plays a big role in researching and handling sexual harassment claims, only a tiny fraction of incidents are ever reported to them, and industry-specific data are often unavailable. Also, many employees, fearing the difficult filing process and/or retaliation from their employer(s) or harasser(s) never file formal complaints, or they file complaints with other agencies, such as the Fair Employment Practice Agency. Additionally, even though that $40 million in payouts may sound like a big number, it doesn’t include any monetary benefits that victims earn through litigation, so the real number is much higher. Sexual harassment is a pervasive and tragically underreported problem in many of the world’s biggest industries, and reacting to problems as they occur instead of taking preventative measures is expensive for employers and damaging for employees.
Furthermore, it is well documented that workplaces where people feel safe and respected are more collaborative, more productive, and more fulfilling. In an article for Forbes, Jennifer Johnson Scalzi described the many benefits of workplace trust, writing:
If your colleagues can depend on you to act honorably, you’ve earned far more than trust. You’ve created advocates and gained access to new connections, critical brainpower, their best work and their loyalty. On a global level, innovation and purpose can flourish in this environment, elevating individuals and organizations alike. It’s a mighty foundation on which to build a career and an equally powerful opportunity to help institutionalize humanity.
There’s a lot at stake with this issue, and employers have a lot to lose by ignoring or downplaying the presence of sexual harassment problems in their organizations.
AllenComm’s Custom Corporate Training Solution
That’s where the Core Reflection Tool comes in. Because it’s focused on interpersonal awareness and empathy rather than checking the boxes for compliance training, it can be applied universally to improve workplace trust in any industry. Our custom corporate training is just as effective for workers in manufacturing or food services as it is for corporate executives because it is designed to spark critical thinking and thoughtful conversations between employees who share a work environment and must therefore learn to treat one another with respect. By drilling down to the individual rather than staying on the surface of the job or industry requirements, this tool works to transform organizational culture from the inside out, instead of from the outside in.
Respect: The New Industry Standard
Ultimately, every organization’s long-term goal should be to create a workplace environment where employees trust one another and feel safe enough to address issues like sexual harassment head-on, without fear of retaliation, humiliation, or dismissal of their concerns. If your workplace lacks any of these qualities (and let’s be honest—most workplaces do) the path to reaching that goal is probably a long one. This kind of change never happens overnight, and it takes time for people to change their attitudes, assumptions, and actions. Industry-level change will sometimes seem like it’s moving at a glacial pace. However, with honest conversations, positive reinforcement, and guidance from the Core Reflection Tool, any workplace in any industry can start take meaningful steps right now toward more consistent respect, openness, and trust.
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your own company’s immunity to harassment, feel free to reach out to us. Connect with us now.