If there’s anything that 2018 brought into sharp focus, it is the continued need for awareness about the issue of sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement has empowered many, and California lawmakers are strengthening anti-harassment laws in response. In this environment, every business should be concerned with how training can protect employees, clients, and the business itself.
Training keeps you in compliance with laws
One way a California sexual harassment program helps is by keeping your business in compliance with all the local laws and regulations. Any company with five or more employees is obligated to provide this kind of training once every two years, and within six months of any new employee hire.
This training has to cover very specific things, like the legal definitions of harassment, strategies to prevent it, remedies for those who have suffered harassment, confidentiality issues, and resources for anyone who needs them. Getting professionals to do your training ensures that you cover everything.
Training sends a message from the top
Employees tend to follow their leaders, and if you (as the leader) don’t seem all that concerned about sexual harassment, your people will pick up on that. Victims will feel more inclined to stay silent and harassers will be emboldened.
But when you provide training and show your commitment to everyone’s safety, you send a strong message to would-be abusers, encourage respect from and to everyone, and empower potential victims to stand strong.
Training gives powerful knowledge
One of the reasons that sexual harassment continues is that people feel powerless to stop it. Victims may fear that harassment will turn even uglier if they speak up, and bystanders may not like it but don’t know how to react.
Once you provide training, you give the kind of knowledge that leads to power. Victims know just what to do. They know their rights and how to get recourse from you, from the law, or even with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Training increases awareness
Sexual harassment has always been a problem in the workplace, and the #MeToo movement has only served to highlight issues that have always existed. The way to stop harassment is to call it out and respond to it, not cover it up.
With training, your employees will learn how to prevent harassment, how to identify it when they see it, and how to respond to subtle or overt harassment. You’ll also help them understand when things are not a problem and how to communicate when they are uncomfortable in a helpful and constructive way.
Training keeps your customers and clients safe
The primary focus of sexual harassment training is dealing with the workplace, but this training also serves to protect your clients or customers. When all your employees know what behavior is not acceptable, you can be more confident about the way they’ll treat your customers.
More than that, by increasing awareness of what kinds of behaviors are inappropriate, you help your employees learn how to identify it among customers. This could go a long way to protecting a child or other vulnerable person who comes into your establishment.
Training changes the culture
If we want to train the larger culture, we have to start with smaller ones. The training your employees receive will change the very culture of your workplace and have a ripple effect on the world around you.
Your business will become known for its certain values and goals, and these will inspire your people to behave in ways that line up with those values. You can be sure that they’ll take these values out into the larger world and have a positive effect on the community.