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What is an Organizationís Responsibility?

February 12, 2018

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND #METOO

Colleen M. Niese

With Time magazine announcing its 2017 Person of the Year  recipient as “The Silence Breakers” – those women and men who have come forward to claim sexual harassment on the job – the conversation around non-discrimination and non-harassment has changed from “a moment to a movement” as Tarana Burke, the creator of its hash tag, describes in the cover photo’s article.


With each high-profile claim of harassment resulting in another well-known individual losing his career, more and more content is being published related to what a company can do strategically to best ensure its work environment promotes equity over discrimination and respect over harassment.


Never before has it been made so clear to employees what is and is not acceptable behavior in the workplace, and a number of boards are shifting materially from passive to active in terms of expectations for change in this area, with a short timeline issued for their respective assets to demonstrate marked improvement.


And that’s just inside the walls. Consumer expectations for corporate social responsibility have changed dramatically – a 2014 Nielsen study revealed more than half of online consumers, 55% to be exact, would pay more for products and services from an entity they knew to be more socially responsible over a competitor that is not. And that number is forecast to go only up for the next number of years. 


How can a company ensure it’s aligned with what its own Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment policies dictate?  Let’s start with leadership and compliance.


Ask your Employee Development team to show you where in its leadership development training materials the company addresses equity: how to treat all employees equitably; be mindful of not establishing cliques, which drives the have’s and have not’s; and the repercussions of “bending the rules” for one employee because he’s “special.”


Also, review any training related to a manager’s responsibilities when it comes to having one of these issues reported to him or her. Inserting these types of learning objectives into any level of leadership training is quick and economical, especially given all of the options offered in today’s online world.


Break the belief that compliance is either invisible or evil. In our work, we often are asked to be involved with either establishing or improving the company’s practices when it comes to Human Resources compliance. It’s not uncommon for many folks we subsequently work with to describe this area of HR as either boring or pervasive.


Granted, reading and living by policies may not be the most exciting aspect of any given employee’s job; however, its importance to the company’s reputation and profitability growth year over year in the parking industry.


And as always with things of this nature, it starts with the tone from the top and one simple step — a best-practice for any company in this space is to communicate annually to all employees its stance and principles when it comes to ensuring, to the best of its ability, a workplace free of discrimination and harassment.


If you’re interested in what such an employee letter would look like, log on to website marlyngroupllc.com and click on “Insights.”


Colleen M. Niese, SPHR, CPP, is Co-Principal of Marlyn Group. Contact her at Cniese@marlyngroupllc.com.


 



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