Lately, the news seems to be awash with more and more people coming forward with anecdotes involving sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. As more of these stories unfold, it is astonishing to see how many of them involve inappropriate workplace behavior.
At Idilus, we often stress to our clients the necessity of having a human resources department that is fully equipped to step in when these scenarios arise. Whether your HR department is part of your company, or outsourced to a PEO, you need to have a plan in place for when complaints regarding harassment and misconduct are brought forward by your employees. It will serve to protect you and your employees, and also make everyone who works at your business feel safe coming in to work everyday. Here are some pointers as you start putting together a plan:
- Every company is different. While sexual misconduct of any form should not and cannot be allowed within the workplace, your company’s unique structure should inform how the problems are dealt with. For example, smaller companies with fewer employees may see behaviors limited to only one member of the staff. Larger companies may notice more systematic behaviors across management teams. Assessing whether your company needs simple one on one conversations and terminations, or large-scale management and sensitivity training programs is something that should be worked through and planned for with your human resources department. This will allow you to be prepared in the event that a complaint arises.
- Your policy on sexual misconduct must be clear. One mistake many small businesses make is that they are so busy hiring people during seasons of company growth that emphasis on company-wide human resources policy falls by the wayside. Having new hire training procedures and protocols in place can go a long way in making sure that you avoid situations involving sexual harassment before they ever start. Utilize your human resources department at all steps of the training process to make it clear to all new and existing staff what the consequences for sexual misconduct are in writing and have all new hires sign that they have read and agree to your terms. It will then be easier to uphold consequences for sexual misconduct within your company.
- Utilize your human resources department well. By having open door policies between your human resource team and your staff, you allow for your office to be a safe place for anyone who works there. Most of the time, victims of sexual harassment and misconduct are too afraid to say anything about what has happened to them out of feelings of shame and fear. This can lead to feelings of resentment, and ultimately, loss of good employees. By utilizing your human resources department, you can give your people a place to go when they feel unsafe in the workplace in order to address issues. The more resources available to your people, the more protected they will feel. Which will give them more time to focus on what’s most important in the workplace: work.
No matter the size of your company or your industry, having a plan in place for when sexual misconduct arises is important to the health and longevity of your business. At Idilus, we pride ourselves on helping businesses put human resources strategies and procedures in place. We can even act as your HR department, so that your people know where to go when they need to log complaints about their coworkers. Call or click today to partner with us to start building the safest environment possible for all your employees.