A third of business executives surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report changing their behavior to avoid actions that might be perceived as sexual harassment.
James Banks Jr., general counsel of SHRM, says executives report they are being more mindful of language in the workplace, avoiding specific topics or joking and changing policies and trainings as a result of publicity about Harvey Weinstein and the “Me Too” movement.
Banks spoke at a roundtable convened by the EEOC earlier this month on preventing harassment in the workplace. SHRM is the largest organization of human resource professionals in the country, with 300,000 members who impact the lives of 115 million employees.
He says 62 percent of employers report they are “currently assessing their culture and identifying potential risks for sexual harassment, and 44 percent are developing or revising accountability measures.”
.According to Banks, human resource professionals should take the following steps to improve the workplace culture of their employer:
- Add workplace civility training components to encompass behaviors that may not meet the definition of illegal conduct;
- Tailor training to the organization’s workforce rather than relying on generic, out-of-the-box programming;
- Ensure that culture starts at the top but doesn’t stop there, involving all employees in living the organization’s culture;
- Add training to onboarding activities for ALL new hires, including the executive team.
POSTSCRIPT: It is encouraging, of course, that a third of executives are cleaning up their act on sexual harassment but it does raise a question about what the remaining two-thirds of executives are thinking.