Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that may require immediate attention within your company.
Data shows that 81% of women and 43% of men nationwide reported they experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime, with far too many instances occurring in the workplace.
Many do not know what constitutes sexual harassment, and that is a significant issue. For example, in a 2019 survey, 32% of employees weren’t aware that jokes could be considered sexual harassment. As a leader at your company, it’s up to you to steer your team in the right direction by providing regular training on appropriate workplace behavior. Your team should understand the type of behavior that won’t be tolerated and what they can do if they are a victim of sexual harassment.
Here are three benefits of sexual harassment training, focusing on the importance of ongoing compliance.
1. Reduce Turnover
Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, you can’t grow without your team. So, you should take employee turnover seriously.
According to a 2021 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual turnover rate is over 57% across all industries. When you lose an employee, this will cost you 1.5 to 2 times their salary. Data shows that sexual harassment can cause significant damage to those who experience it, resulting in higher turnover rates, lost productivity and increased absenteeism, all of which equates to lost revenue.
If your team feels you’re doing your part to remain compliant, this will make all the difference concerning their willingness to stick with the company, especially when proper follow-up measures are taken. The actions you take send a message to your employees. You may not only lose sexual harassment victims, but other employees who do not agree with how you handled the situation may also quit.
2. Avoid Litigation
Some companies turn a blind eye to sexual harassment, especially if the one harassing others is an “asset” to the company. This approach can be very costly.
Sexual harassment training supports company culture, which is imperative if a lawsuit develops. For example, large companies have made headlines for sexual harassment lawsuits — and while they had necessary “rules” in place, poor company culture proved they do not do anything when those rules are broken. Regular training shows you’re taking the initiative to protect your employees, ensuring they adhere to relevant laws, internal policies and regulations.
3. Create a Healthy Work Environment
Employees should feel comfortable reporting sexual harassment and be encouraged by management to do so. A 2020 report released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) showed that more than 55% of sexual harassment victims experience retaliation after they speak up or make a claim. Exclusion from staff activities, demotion and unfavorable reassignment are some examples. Retaliation and the fear that surrounds it fosters a toxic work culture.
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